Millennials Are Changing the Purchasing Patterns for Chocolate

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Millennials Are Changing the Purchasing Patterns for Chocolate


WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new generation of millennial shoppers is impacting the chocolate retail experience, according to a new report from the National Confectioners Association (NCA) and the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA).

Getting to Know Chocolate Consumers 2019 explored the demographics of the chocolate consumer, as well as their overall chocolate purchasing patterns.

"The insights show that millennials are changing purchasing patterns for chocolate, with an above average preference for fine chocolate and likelihood for purchasing treats at supercenters, specialty/organic stores and alternative channels," stated Anne-Marie Roerink, principal and founder of 210 Analytics LLC, which conducted research for the study. "In line with the generation’s socially conscious reputation, we found that millennial shoppers also demonstrate a clear preference for certifications and specific production and ingredient claims."

Dividing consumers into three segments — the mainstream chocolate consumer, a premium chocolate consumer and a fine chocolate consumer — findings from the report indicate that the fine chocolate consumer explores a variety of channels to locate small artisan chocolatiers that source high quality cacao.

"We found that the fine chocolate consumer is generally younger, more socially conscious and more driven by experimentation and trial, even if they already have a favorite chocolatier," FCIA Executive Director Bill Guyton noted. "Fine chocolate consumers believe small-batch chocolate has a superior taste and are willing to seek it out, visiting farmers' markets, festivals and specialty online channels more frequently than other chocolate consumers."

NCA is a trade organization that advances, protects and promotes chocolate, candy, gum and mints, and the companies that make these special treats. It is a leading association for the U.S. confectionery industry. 

"This deep analysis of the chocolate consumer should be helpful to everyone in the industry — from manufacturers to suppliers and our retail customers," said John Downs, NCA president and CEO. "Understanding how people enjoy chocolate helps us develop a clearer idea of what lies ahead for this very important part of the confectionery industry. Chocolate is a significant piece of our industry, representing about 60 percent of the confectionery industry’s sales, or nearly $21 billion annually."

Washington, D.C.-based FCIA's mission is to promote quality, innovations, ethical sourcing and best practices in the fine chocolate industry.

More insights into the chocolate consumer can be found in the key findings and executive summary