Research has it that America is the leading chocolate consuming country. However, there are some countries in Europe that consume more per person.
Around 13% of the world’s yearly cocoa production, more than 500,000 tons, is used mainly for America alone to make chocolate candy. This is based on U.S. Economic Census data, which is analyzed by the National Confectioners Association (NCA). That makes up for 2/3 of total American cocoa consumption.
“Today, it is increasingly about consumers weighing not only the costs of goods, but the multitude of benefits they offer as well,” says Todd Hale, who is a senior vice president, consumer and shopper insights for Nielsen. Nielsen gives global consumer information and insights.
Nestle USA, a subsidiary of Nestle SA, expanded on its low-fat Skinny Cow frozen snack line with Skinny Cow Candy in 2011. In March, Divine Filled Chocolates were added. These are 130-calorie pouches of three chocolate candies. This product was said to be among the most successful new product launches ever.
Hershey, on the other hand, claims that its Simple Pleasures line has 30% less fat than the average leading milk chocolates.
Swiss-based Barry Callebaut, which manufactures chocolate for large food companies such as Hershey Co, Mondelez, Unilever, and bakeries, among others, was also able to observe the transition, says spokesman Raphael Wermuth.
Chocolate companies seem to be leaning farther toward chocolates with “health benefits”, like chocolates with high flavonol content, which is said to have a positive impact on brain performance. Other chocolates under such category are those that have less fat or ones sweetened using refined sugar alternatives like stevia.
Since dark chocolate beats milk chocolate in terms of health benefits, more companies have shifted toward it.
Milk chocolate is still favored overall. Even though Simple Pleasures and Skinny Cow have a small following among the diet conscious, they will stay as a tiny niche.
“In general, people don’t eat chocolate to feel well, they eat it to feel good,” says Marcia Mogelonsky, director of Innovation and Insight at Mintel. “The last thing on most chocolate eaters’ minds is health.”