Snacks & Candy

New Study Shows Changes in Chocolate Sales

NCA debuts consumer insights report
Getting to Know Chocolate Consumers 2021 infographic
Image courtesy of the National Confectioners Association

WASHINGTON — Premium chocolate is one of the big winners coming out of the pandemic, according to new report from the National Confectioners Association (NCA).

The report—Getting to Know Chocolate Consumers 2021: Exploring Consumer Demographics, Consumption Preferences and Shopping Habits for Mainstream, Premium and Fine Chocolate—was conducted by 210 Analytics, San Antonio, and made financially possible by the Fine Chocolate Industry Association and Barry Callebaut USA. It provides an in-depth look at consumer perceptions, attitudes and behaviors regarding chocolate to help the confectionery industry optimize production, marketing, merchandising and branding decisions as they relate to everyday, premium and fine chocolate selections.

Chocolate has always been a consumer favorite, but preferences for type and format vary widely based on consumers’ age, income and lifestyle,” said John Downs, president and CEO of NCA, said. “This past year was a strong one for chocolate. COVID-19 dramatically changed shopping behaviors, spurring tremendous growth in chocolate e-commerce, for instance. The research in this new report breaks down the changes we’re seeing to help the confectionery industry continue to adapt, grow and thrive.”

The Getting to Know Chocolate Consumers 2021 report also takes a closer look at the rapidly growing fine chocolate segment, which has seen a significant increase in frequent and exclusive consumers since the start of the pandemic.

“Over the past year and a half, we’ve seen consumers more willing to treat themselves to a piece of fine chocolate in order to support their emotional well-being during this stressful period,” Bill Guyton, executive director of the Fine Chocolate Industry Association, said. “This wave of interest in fine chocolate has spurred all sorts of new experimentation and inclusions from the fine-chocolate industry as consumers find new ways to fit fine chocolate into their everyday routines, from single-origin recipes to rare ingredients.”

Laura Bergan, director of marketing for the Barry Callebaut Brand for North America, agrees that consumer preferences have evolved over time. “Looking at our own consumer insights and research in parallel with watching our customers’ business, we agree there have been shifts in consumer purchases at the shelf,” she said. “This research aligns with our observations that consumers are more than ever seeking chocolate experiences in their sweet treat consumption moments."

The National Confectioners Association, Washington, is a leading trade organization for the U.S. confectionery industry, which generates more than $37 billion in retail sales each year.

The Fine Chocolate Industry Association, Arlington, Va., is an international industry association supporting professionals throughout the fine chocolate supply chain.

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