NEW YORK—The recession has taken its toll on markets across the board. But chocolate sales have increased despite an increasingly budget-minded consumer. New market research from Packaged Facts, “Chocolate Market in the U.S.: Trends and Opportunities in Premium, Gourmet and Mass Chocolate Products," notes that retail sales of chocolate products increased 3% from 2008 to reach a record $17 billion in 2009. Packaged Facts forecasts the U.S. chocolate market will exceed $19 billion in 2014.
Growth in chocolate sales continued despite increases in manufacturer prices, as consumers continue to view chocolate as an affordable indulgence.
“For many chocolate-loving Americans it’s more about the experience than it is about mere consumption. To meet this demand, premium chocolatiers are setting off on culinary adventures, discovering new layers of flavor and textures by experimenting with umami flavors or developing products to match consumers’ moods," says Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. “This may be a mature market, but it’s also a market that isn’t afraid to innovate, whether that means using savory influences such as bacon and cheese or ethnic flavors such as curry and chipotle. This bold creativity effectively provides chocolate products that satisfy diverse consumer palates at reasonable prices."
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