Some of the biggest names in chocolate confectionery are drastically losing sales and shares are slumping as a result. The Grocer recently reported that 12 of Britain’s bestselling chocolate brands have reported losses over the last year – with sales plunging by £78 million.
This apparent drop in consumer appetite for chocolate has been attributed to a number of factors. Firstly, confectionary companies have been hit with new regulations on marketing to children, and commodity costs have increased. Health conscious Brits are also trying to cut down on sugar intake, and many families are switching chocolate bars for healthier snacks.
However, it is worth noting that it’s the not the chocolate sector as a whole which is struggling – it’s the mainstream companies selling mass marketed bars and sweet treats. In fact, the opposite can be said of the luxury chocolate market, with artisan chocolatiers and high end producers noticing an uptake in sales.
There has definitely been a consumer shift from high street cheaper chocolate to higher quality products. And, it seems, consumers are willing to pay more for a small quantity of deluxe, sustainable, healthier chocolate than binge on large amounts of mass marketed bars from the supermarket.
There is no denying that the sugar police have had a part to play in this trend. With obesity rising, it is of course important that people try and cut down on sugar for health reasons, especially children. Brits are increasingly rejecting sugary foods in favour of healthy alternatives, and consumers believe that large scale manufacturers should take responsibility and decrease the amount of sugar in confectionery products.
However, sweet treats can play a part of a healthy diet as long as they are consumed in small quantities. Therefore suppliers who focus on quality, and producing cocoa-rich products with less added sugar and less preservatives, can still be appealing to consumers as they are perceived to be healthier. Dark chocolate has many health benefits yet the majority of mainstream manufacturers choose to put milk chocolate on supermarket shelves.
We have certainly noticed this trend towards chocolate with high cocoa content. This year among our bestsellers are the Single Origin Dark Chocolate Bars and Dark Chocolate Truffles, which are made from 72% Venezuelan chocolate.
Small amounts of luxury chocolate are winning over the public more than bigger quantities of mass produced chocolate. Sustainability is also a factor as consumers become more eco conscious – artisan chocolatiers are often using cocoa-rich, sustainable ingredients offering consumers a healthier choice and peace of mind.
While mainstream chocolate manufacturers are struggling, artisan chocolate makers are thriving…taste some of our delicious luxury handmade treats and you’ll see why.
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