Sales of chocolate in the U.S. surged 24% between 2008 and 2013, and will continue to rise another 14% by 2018, a new Mintel report indicates. Growing competition in the marketplace and consumer focus on healthy products could curb some growth in the market, but products that weigh in under 3 ounces are still hot, capturing a 40.7% share of the category. In addition, new flavors, good values and premium products are attracting shoppers.
Sales of tea and ready-to-drink tea drinks rose 5.1% in 2011 to $4.3 billion, according to a Mintel report, which notes ready-to-drink tea accounted for most of the growth. With consumers listing flavor as the top reason they drink tea, companies including Arizona, Snapple and Sweet Leaf have introduced beverages that combine iced tea and lemonade.
The chocolate market in the U.K. is expected to grow 5.8% this year, up from 4% expansion in 2008, Mintel found. "The fact that [people in the U.K.] buy more chocolate than any other European country, despite recessionary pressure and our comparative lack in size, shows where the priorities of sweet toothed Brits lie," a Mintel executive said.
Portion-controlled food packaging, such as 100-calorie packs, present a major growth opportunity, Mintel says. Successful products tend to be low-calorie, high in fiber, rich in vitamins and minerals, and available in popular ethnic flavors such as Mexican or Italian.