While NCA research reveals that milk chocolate is still the most popular variety, 29% of Americans over the age of 45 and 15% of those age 18 to 44 prefer dark chocolate, a trend that NCA spokeswoman Susan Smith said is definitely heading upward. Consumers are buying more dark chocolate at supermarkets, farmers markets and even quick-service restaurants, which is due in large part to recent awareness about its health benefits, which include fighting bad cholesterol and lowering blood pressure.

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