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Seasonal and chocolate box sales are projected to increase by 12.9% between 2010 and 2015, growing to an estimated GBP4.1 billion (NZD$8.65 billion) by 2015, according to Confectionery News, citing a Mintel report.

The studies — Seasonal and Boxed Chocolates, Chocolate Confectionery and Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD) — revealed that chocolate innovation is thriving. Global new chocolate product launches increased by 34% over the past six months, up 16% year-on-year.

Despite the predicted growth in sales Mintel senior food and drink analyst Vivianne Ihekweazu, warned of challenges for the market citing rising commodity prices and the VAT price rise in 2011 as factors that will led to higher cost being passed on to consumers.

Men vs Women: According to the research, men are also catching up with women in their fondness for chocolate: today 87% of men say they eat it, compared to 91% of women.

Types of chocolate: Milk chocolate continues to reign over dark in UK consumers’ preferences but its popularity dropped from over 50% of consumer preference in 2008, to 35% in 2009. Consumers’ claim of dark chocolate being healthier has increased from 23% in 2008 to 35% in 2010.

The report also added that chocolate confectionery category has continued to face challenges as consumers pay closer attention to the calories in the food they eat.

Ethical concerns remain important to customers. Mintel said that “ethical” is now the third most popular claim for new chocolate products and 25% of new chocolate products launched in the UK in 2009 carried this claim compared to 4% in 2005.

The amount of consumers that report purchasing fair trade chocolate has remained steady, from 35% in 2008 to 36% in 2009 – a year when it was reported that many consumers traded down on key products. – Source: Confectionery News

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