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Americans love their chocolate. And while seasonal events such as a Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween seemingly offer unabashed opportunity to gorge on these sweet treats in all their various incarnations, truth is the majority of consumers find reasons to indulge their chocolate cravings year-round
In the report Chocolate Candy in the U.S., 10th Edition, Packaged Facts estimates that some 81% of American consumers eat chocolate and the future outlook for the U.S. chocolate candy market is appropriately bullish. By 2018, sales of chocolate candy in the U.S. are forecast to exceed $26 billion for the first time, up from roughly $22 billion in sales estimated by the end of 2015. Most important, the category is quite dynamic: with a strong pace of innovation, an influx of creative new players and a steady flow of new products that engage consumers.
Several factors support a continued growth curve for the market. One, the market has continued growing despite the economic climate, underscoring consumer devotion to the product. Two, the growing perception of the product as an accessible luxury creates many opportunities to trade the consumer up to premium products. Three, a growing body of research supports the status of cocoa as a superfood, with multi-dimensional nutritional benefits. This positive halo around chocolate enhances its image as a guilt-free indulgence, and can ultimately drive more consumption.
There are also challenges faced by the industry: including the public concern about the cocoa farming process, and short-term, the supply of cocoa. Overall, however, the industry is poised for continued growth based on the many positive trends now unfolding in the market.