Chocolate Confectionery in Western Europe

February 2021

Chocolate confectionery was hit by the loss of impulse/on-the-go sales, fewer gifting occasions and a disrupted Easter period in 2020 due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), significantly affecting categories such as boxed assortments and seasonal chocolate. However, at the same time, sales in product areas such as chocolate pouches and bags or tablets were being driven by increased at-home snacking and their use as shareable indulgent treats in 2020.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key Findings

Old-fashioned boxed assortments

Boxed assortments have been struggling in recent years, particularly in Germany, where these products are increasingly seen as old-fashioned. To compound these products’ problems, COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions significantly reduced social and gifting occasions across the continent in 2020 – serving to hit demand for boxed assortments during the year.

Pandemic hits seasonal chocolate

Seasonal chocolate was another category to be heavily impacted by COVID-19 in 2020 – with the Easter season falling in the early days of national lockdowns in most countries. This put a major dent in sales of Easter eggs – with families and friends denied face-to-face meet-ups. Many players donated unsold Easter eggs to vulnerable people or key workers.

Tablets to the rescue

Tablets, despite remaining in decline in Germany, helped offset the falling sales in boxed assortments, seasonal chocolate and chocolate with toys in 2020. After two years of regional decline, in what is something of a mature category, the biggest product area in the market returned a positive performance in 2020, driven by a turnaround in the UK (which boasts the greatest sales of tablets), as well as dynamic growth in a number of countries, including Turkey.

Premiumisation, health and sustainability

Players and consumers have continued to push the market towards more premium chocolate choices, including dark chocolate products with a higher cocoa content, perceived as healthier options. Recyclable/Recycled packaging is also becoming more important, as is ethical sourcing and production.

Modest growth expected

Chocolate confectionery will return to positive growth after 2020, albeit only at very modest rates. Countlines and seasonal chocolate will be driving this growth.

Key findings
Western Europe continues to record the highest regional sales
Positive regional growth expected over the forecast period
Bad year for seasonal chocolate in France in 2020
Boxed assortments and seasonal chocolate lose sales in 2020
Chocolate pouches and bags ensure positive 2015-2020 market growth
Tablets rebound not enough for a positive market performance in 2020
Modern grocery retailers dominate sales in Western Europe
Growth for e-commerce, but forecourt retailers and vending lose share
Top players gaining share in Germany and France
Mondelez manages to halt its share loss in 2020
Top five present across all the region’s major markets
Declining German tablets sales see Ritter Sport slip out of the top 10
Declines in the UK and France will drag down the overall performance
Chocolate confectionery to record a slightly positive 2020-2025 CAGR
Austria: Market Context
Austria: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Belgium: Market Context
Belgium: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Denmark: Market Context
Denmark: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Finland: Market Context
Finland: Competitive and Retail Landscape
France: Market Context
France: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Germany: Market Context
Germany: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Greece: Market Context
Greece: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Ireland: Market Context
Ireland: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Italy: Market Context
Italy: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Netherlands: Market Context
Netherlands: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Norway: Market Context
Norway: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Portugal: Market Context
Portugal: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Spain: Market Context
Spain: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Sweden: Market Context
Sweden: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Switzerland: Market Context
Switzerland: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Turkey: Market Context
Turkey: Competitive and Retail Landscape
UK: Market Context
UK: Competitive and Retail Landscape

Packaged Food

In packaged food we consider two aspects of food sales: 1) Retail sales. 2) Foodservice. Retail sales is defined as sales through establishments primarily engaged in the sale of fresh, packaged and prepared foods for home preparation and consumption. This excludes hotels, restaurant, cafés, duty free sales and institutional sales (canteens, prisons/jails, hospitals, army, etc). Our retail definition EXCLUDES the purchase of food products from foodservice outlets for consumption off-premises, eg impulse confectionery bought from counters of cafés/bars. This falls under foodservice sales. For foodservice, we capture all sales to foodservice outlets, regardless of whether the products are eventually consumed on-premise or off-premise. Foodservice sales is defined as sales to consumer foodservice outlets that serve the general public in a non-captive environment. Outlets include cafés/bars, FSR (full-service restaurants), fast food, 100% home delivery/takeaway, self-service cafeterias and street stalls/kiosks. Sales to semicaptive foodservice outlets are also included. This describes outlets located in leisure, travel and retail environments. 1) Retail refers to units located in retail outlets such as department stores, shopping malls, shopping centres, super/hypermarkets etc. 2) Leisure refers to units located in leisure establishments such as museums, health clubs, cinemas, theatres, theme parks and sports stadiums. 3) Travel refers to units located in based in airports, rail stations, coach stations, motorway service stations offering gas facilities etc. Beyond the scope of the foodservice research are captive foodservice units that serve captive populations around institutions such as hospitals, schools, and prisons. This is also known as institutional sales.

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