Snacks & Candy

Premium Chocolate on the Rise

Candy Expo speakers hail subcategory's benefits

CHICAGO -- As trends go, the growth in sales of premium and dark chocolates is a great one for retailers to latch onto, according to various workshops and speakers at the All Candy Expo in Chicago, which ends today.

A higher price, higher margins and a healthier image among consumers make it a triple-win for retailers. Premium chocolates are the major growth driver in the chocolate category, said Rick Price, manager of customer merchandising for The Hershey Co., during a workshop titled, Transforming Premium Chocolate.

The trade-up [image-nocss] trend in premium chocolate is in its infancy. It's going to continue, he added, saying premium chocolate sales currently amount to $2.3 billion a year and are expected to top $3.0 billion by 2011.

Meanwhile, dark chocolate was named as one of the nine key trends this year in the candy industry by the National Confectioners Association, Chicago, and not for the first time.

Chocolate confections continue to dip into the growing demand for dark chocolate, according to NCA spokesperson Susan Fussell. Decadent and delicious, consumers have more options with new dark-chocolate indulgences, she said.

Dark chocolate is the part of premium [chocolate] that is driving the segment, agreed Mark Clark, category manager for Quality Food Centers, during the Transforming Premium Chocolate workshop. It's [about] indulgence, and it's [about the] good-for-you profile.

For more from the All Candy Expo, watch for the October issue of CSP magazine.

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