Despite the recession, the UK consumed £3.5bn worth of chocolate last year. Only Germany, with over 20 million more people, came close to the UK spend, with £3.4bn in 2008. ??
Mintel’s GMN shows that the British spent an impressive £57 per head of population on chocolate in 2008. Only Switzerland spends more on chocolate at £111 per head of population in 2008, with Belgium (£48 per head) and Germany (£41 per head) trailing the UK. ??
Even a global recession hasn’t reduced the British enthusiasm for chocolate. The UK market grew by 7.4% in 2007 and it still managed to achieve 4% growth in 2008 despite tough economic conditions. Mintel GMN goes on to forecast continued expansion of 5.8% in 2009 and then predicts year-on-year increases of 5% until 2013, when the market will be valued at £4.4bn.??
Steve Charlton, managing director Mintel GMN, says:?”These figures demonstrate the British love of chocolate remains as strong as ever. The fact that we buy more chocolate than any other European country, despite recessionary pressure and our comparative lack in size, shows where the priorities of sweet-toothed Brits lie!”??
There’s also clear segmentation in the UK. Countline products are the largest sector, comprising 34.1% of the market at a value of nearly £1.2bn. Boxes of assorted chocolates make up 22.7% of sales and there are seasonal bursts of novelty chocolates around Christmas and Easter, representing 12.9% of the market with a value of £451m.
When it comes to global innovation, Europe leads the way. In the first six months of the year, almost four in 10 (38%) new chocolate products were launched in Europe. Posh chocs (otherwise known as ‘premium products’) have been particularly popular in Europe, where highlighting the provenance of the chocolate is a particularly popular trend.??
“The trend towards good quality produce is reflective of European consumers’ interest in the sourcing and provenance of ingredients,” says Charlton. “In fact, in the last six months alone, almost three quarters of all new organic products and over half of all new Fairtrade products have been launched in this region.”
Meanwhile, it seems new product development is booming in the current economic climate. Mintel’s Global New Products Database reveals that new chocolate product launches in the UK are up from 345 in 2007 to 439 in 2008. While Brits lead the way in overall chocolate consumption, Germany is the most active region in terms of new product development, accounting for a quarter of all European launches, followed by Austria with 12% and the UK with 8%. ??
However, it would appear the UK is developing a healthier appetite when it comes to chocolate confectionery. Reduced sugar chocolate launches rose from just six in 2007 to 26 in 2008, gluten-free chocolate launches from 13 in 2007 to 40 in 2008, and additive-free chocolate from 22 in 2007 to 46 launches in 2008. ?
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