The global dark chocolate market is projected to grow at 8.5% CAGR during the assessment period 2017-2026, and reach a valuation of over US$ 84 billion by 2026-end. Europe will continue to be the largest market for dark chocolate, with North America following suit on account of steady demand from the US. These insights are according to a new research study published by Persistence Market Research.
According to the report, positive perception among consumers about the health benefits of dark chocolates will continue to drive demand. Dark chocolates are considered as rich sources of antioxidants, and rising consumer awareness on the health benefits of antioxidants is contributing to the growth in demand. Sensing the influencing factors that drive consumer behavior, manufacturers are focusing on incorporating organic and clean label ingredients in their offerings. According to the report, adoption of natural ingredients, especially sweeteners such as stevia and coconut sugar will witness an increase during the assessment period.
Conventional Dark Chocolate Continues to Outsell Organic Variants
Although demand for organic dark chocolate is growing at a robust clip, conventional dark chocolates continue to account for the leading revenue share of the market. Organic variants are relatively expensive than conventional dark chocolates, and their sales are currently limited to demographics with high disposable income. However, the pervasive, cross-industry ‘health and ‘wellness’ trend is impacting the dark chocolate landscape as well, as demand for organic dark chocolate witnesses an increase. The report projects global sales of organic dark chocolate to surpass US$ 31 Bn by the end of 2026.
Modern Trade and Specialty Stores Remain the Preferred Sales Channels
According to the report, dark chocolates sold through modern trade and specialty stores collectively accounted for nearly US$ 24 Bn in revenues in 2017. Modern trade accounts for the highest revenue share of the market, and the trend is likely to continue during the assessment period. In addition to modern trade and specialty stores, dark chocolate sales are also growing through online channels. Modern trade outlets and specialty stores are usually limited in suburban and tier II cities, and online retailers have filled the demand-supply gap in these markets. The report projects that sales of dark chocolate through online channels will increase at a healthy rate during the assessment period.
Food Industry Continues to be the Largest Application Segment
The demand for dark chocolate from the food industry is likely to surpass US$ 50 Bn in revenues by the end of the forecast period. Food industry has traditionally remained the largest application segment for dark chocolate, and the status quo is likely to remain unchanged during the assessment period. Demand for dark chocolate is also likely to remain robust in the beverages segment, as manufacturers are experimenting with different types of flavors. Use of specialty or premium dark chocolate in flavoring energy drinks and beers is gaining traction, and these factors are likely to push demand in the beverages segment during the assessment period.
Europe and North America – Two Largest Markets for Dark Chocolate
The global dark chocolate market continues to be heavily influenced by developments in Europe and North America – two of the largest markets globally. Belgium, Denmark, and Switzerland have remained hubs of dark chocolate production and consumption, whereas the US accounts for the leading revenue share in North American market. The Europe dark chocolate market is likely to increase at a healthy CAGR during the assessment period, and surpass US$ 32 Bn in revenue by 2026-end.
Manufacturers Focusing on Certification Compliances and Product Innovation
The ever-evolving changes in consumer preferences have meant that manufacturers are continuously working on broadening their product portfolio. Growing demand for premium dark chocolate and consumer receptivity towards novel flavors is also influencing product strategies. Although certification is still not a mandate in many markets, it becoming a minimum requirement in many European markets. The major certification schemes for cocoa include Rainforest Alliance and UTZ, and Fairtrade.
Overall, the outlook on the global dark chocolate market remains positive, and the landscape is likely to be shaped by evolving consumer preferences and perceptions.
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