Despite healthy attitudes, sweet sales are growing

4 Apr 2022

Sales of confectionery and chocolate in the US and Europe are on the rise - despite consumer ongoing interest in better-for-your foods.

In the US, chocolate and candy sales hit a record $36.9 billion (€33.60 billion) according to data from the National Confectioners' Association. Similarly, chocolate sales in Europe roared back to life in 2021 after being stymied for a portion of the pandemic.

In Switzerland, Lindt & Sprüngli saw its sales jump 17.4% in the first half of 2021 compared to 2020. In the UK, sales from the brand Hotel Chocolat jumped even higher, posting a 21% increase in revenue for its 2021 fiscal year that ended last June at £165 million (€195 million). 

Despite healthy attitudes, sweet sales are growing

Europe has historically been a large chocolate-consuming region. According to the Centre for the Promotion of Imports, while the world’s average chocolate consumption amounts to an estimated 0.9 kg per capita per year, in Europe, that figure is 5 kg.

In Western Europe, North America and South America, the chocolate confectionery market grew 2.8%, 2.8% and 8.8% between 2020 and 2021, respectively, according to data from market research company Statista.

Michele Buck, The Hershey Company CEO noted in a press release that "In 2021, we delivered a record year of production and double-digit sales and earnings growth.” As one of the US’s chocolate titans, Hershey posted 10.1% growth last year. 

To respond to this demand for more chocolate from consumers, manufacturers have been able to tap into a larger supply of raw materials. The European Cocoa Association (ECA) found a year-over-year increase in the supply of cocoa grindings, which grew 8.7% from 345,730 tonnes to 375,811 tonnes between 2019 and 2020.

Other sweets in the spotlight of consumer attention

Chocolate is not the only sweet treat to post sales numbers that are reflecting a growing demand. Candy sales, which dipped in 2020 according to the National Confectioners Association, rose last year. Seasonal candy in particular saw noticeable gains with a 13.5% year-over-year growth in dollar sales.

According to the 2022 Flavor and Trend forecast by the flavour company Novotaste, consumers continue to be caught between their desire for comfort and indulgence and the search for healthier options to consume. 

Dark chocolate and citrus are straightforward points from which manufacturers can build sweets that are positioned for shoppers looking for healthier options. Functional candy such as gummy vitamins are also on the rise, Forbes reported.

Sugar-free sweets are yet an alternate route. The study from the National Confectioners Association found 44% of consumers are interested in trying low-sugar and sugar-free treats. Already many options on the market are bridging this gap such as sugar-free candy company Behave and the stevia-driven candy company Lily’s.

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