NATIONAL REPORT — Chocolate is a staple worldwide, but consumer consumption behaviors are changing over time.
New research from Mintel centered on chocolate confectionery around the world uncovered behaviors and attitudes toward the confection in different nations to find out which countries eat the most chocolate.
"In countries where chocolate is a daily indulgence for most, as well as in those countries where it is enjoyed occasionally, the levels and frequency of chocolate consumption have remained steady in recent years," said Richard Caines, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel. "This signals that there is a certain loyalty and consistency in chocolate consumption, and populations are unlikely to drastically change in their chocolate consumption habits."
Mintel research revealed:
American Chocolate Consumption
American consumption of chocolate confectionery falls slightly behind that of British consumers, as 3% fewer Americans purchased chocolate of any kind in the last three months. However, more than four out of five American consumers are eating the same amount or more chocolate than last year.
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Nearly two-thirds of American consumers purchase chocolate as a treat vs. one-third who purchase chocolate as an energy boost, suggesting that chocolate consumption in the United States is more commonly for pleasure than practicality, Mintel found. This is further reiterated by the fact that more than half of the Americans who ate more chocolate in 2022 attributed it to an increased desire for indulgence.
British Chocolate Consumption
A whopping 95% of British consumers eat chocolate. Four in five British people eat chocolate once a week or more, making it a regular part of British diets. This has slightly decreased since 2022, with a shift toward eating chocolate only once every two weeks or less regularly than previously.
In 2023, British consumers ate less chocolate. One reason may be that the HFSS (high in fat, sugar or salt) products have faced tighter restrictions on where they can be located in stores since October 2022, so confectioneries including chocolate are less visible to consumers than previously, Mintel said.
This has caused a decline in impulse chocolate purchasing. In 2022 almost seven in 10 British consumers declared that they impulsively buy chocolate on promotional deals. In 2023, however, only a third of British consumers said that they bought chocolate for themselves because it was on special offer.
German Chocolate Consumption
In 2023, three-quarters of German consumers eat chocolate at least once a week, with more than 10% eating chocolate once a day or more, Mintel found. More than half of German consumers agree that eating chocolate is an affordable way to improve their mood, and most prefer to buy chocolate blocks that can be eaten across multiple occasions. This shows that eating chocolate is part of a regular routine for German consumers, rather than being an occasional and unpredictable treat, the market research firm said.
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When it comes to what chocolate they eat, Germans ages 44 and under are far more likely to purchase single-serve bars compared to older consumers, who prefer blocks. With three-quarters of consumers saying that smaller bars are better for trying different flavors, this suggests that younger consumers are more interested in novel varieties than older consumers.
Canadian Chocolate Consumption
Consumers in Canada, like those in other parts of the world, seem to have maintained their chocolate consumption levels. This is true for Canada, where only one in five consumers are eating either more or less chocolate than last year, which causes overall chocolate consumption to balance out. While nine in 10 Canadians eating chocolate regularly might seem like a large portion of the population, it is comparatively one of the world's smaller chocolate consumers, Mintel reported.
Canadian attitudes toward eating chocolate is that consumers primarily appreciate the convenience of chocolate snacks, although some prefer to choose more healthy options. More than half of those eating less chocolate and candy in Canada in 2022 have consciously made an effort to reduce their sugar intake. Alternatively, two-thirds of those eating more chocolate and candy in 2022 did so as they are snacking more at home.
Overall, Mintel provided these takeaways:
- The United Kingdom is one of the world’s most loyal and consistent consumers of chocolate, with the vast majority of the population eating chocolate regularly and enjoying a wide variety of chocolate types.
- Similarly, consumers in the U.S. are eating chocolate on a comparable level to recent years, with most of the population enjoying chocolate confectioneries. Comparatively, German and Canadian consumers eat less chocolate than their counterparts in Britain and America.
- In countries where chocolate is a daily indulgence for most, as well as in those countries where it is enjoyed occasionally, the levels and frequency of chocolate consumption have remained steady in recent years. This signals that there is a certain loyalty and consistency in chocolate consumption, and populations are unlikely to drastically change in their chocolate consumption habits.
- Even in cases where some individuals may consume more or less chocolate than in previous years, the changes are balanced on both sides, resulting in an overall consistent level of consumption.
The full report can be accessed here.
Chicago-based Mintel is a market intelligence agency with the knowledge, expertise and insight can inform and guide marketing strategies.