A trend towards indulgence and wider availability of products continued to boost chocolate penetration amongst all segments of the population in 2019, and contributed to value growth. Players increasingly seek to explore opportunities presented by all consumer groups, with companies offering both local and imported products making efforts to improve awareness of their main brands.
Functional and all-natural dark chocolate claims continue to impact overall the health and wellness perception in chocolate confectionery, as well as reflecting the indulgence trend. Such products are particularly popular among a wider base of middle- and upper-income consumers, whose interest in added value and less processed proposals continues to rise, along with their disposable incomes.
Smaller packaging sizes continue to drive sales amongst younger consumers and children, offering access at lower unit prices and thus making chocolate confectionery more affordable. Imported international brands, such as those from Mars Costa Rica SRL, are however seeking to compete against these small low-priced packs via aggressive pricing strategies.
While the bulk of the chocolate confectionery environment remained fairly static in value share terms in 2019, the growing momentum of high-end local artisanal brands continued to develop, resulting in an increased share of sales held by others. Artisanal products target high-end local buyers and tourists interested in dark chocolate products.
Polarisation in chocolate confectionery continues, with an increasing number of generic and economic alternatives such as those provided by local leader Cooperativa de Productos de Leche Dos Pinos, RL, and its mass-orientated brand Gallito. This company keeps pushing forward with small presentations of chocolate proposals aimed at low- and middle-income consumers.
Local brand Gallito leading continued to lead the chocolate confectionery category in 2019, with manufacturer Dos Pinos investing in additional penetration efforts through modern grocery retailers. In this channel, chocolate pouches and bagged presentations continue to compete with other types of imported added value proposals, such as Mars and Hershey’s, based on more affordable pricing.
Gum saw a continued weak performance in volume terms in 2019, with virtual stagnation, while value growth was largely the result of rising unit prices. One factor contributing to the category’s weak performance is that chewing gum is no longer seen as fashionable by the average middle-income younger buyer.
New added value, adult-orientated products continue to stimulate gum sales across a broader base of middle- and upper-income consumers, particularly millennials. Such consumers demonstrate interest in these products due to their greater availability and affordability.
Bubble gum continues to fade as a relevant confectionery option for children. Parents are increasingly reluctant to allow their children to consume such products, due to the potential adverse impact on oral health, as well as potential digestive issues arising from consumption of sugarised bubble gum.
Leading Mondelez brand Trident continues to set the pace in terms of availability and affordability, remaining focused on teenagers and adult-orientated products, with sugar-free proposals. New flavours (such as Watermelon-mint and Fruti-mix), longer-lasting flavour claims, as well as traditional value packs with free gum, continue to underpin the performance of the leading chewing gum brand.
New added-value imported proposals such as Ice Cubes and Mentos keep developing availability across a broader base of modern grocery retailers, such as supermarkets and convenience stores, where they aim to compete directly with Trident in terms of pricing (as in the case of Ice Cubes), or by developing a higher end position to address demand among more affluent adult buyers, as in the case of Mentos. Both products aim to provide a higher quality image in comparison with similar imported brands, including Trident and Orbit.
Child-orientated brands, including economy domestic proposals such as Buby, remain available through small independent local grocers, where they target lower and middle-income children by offering single packaging presentations at very affordable unit prices. Other bubble gum proposals such as the regional Colombina, instead focus on modern grocery retailers, where they offer larger packaging presentations (near 400g) at very competitive unit prices.
The traditional sugar confectionery offer, which is aimed at children, continues to move towards more affordable and larger packaging formats. This sets the pace in terms of sales through supermarkets, discounters and hypermarkets, where demand for these products remains related to children’s’ parties and seasonal celebrations (such as leaving school and Halloween).
Growing awareness in relation to the risks associated with high sugar intake amongst a broader base of middle- and upper-income consumers continued to slow the performance of more traditional sugar confectionery products. This was particularly evident among a broader base of young adult buyers and millennials, especially when they become parents.
New development opportunities continue to emerge across other sugar confectionery options, such as traditional nostalgic proposals, for example those developed by the local player Tricopilia, as well as in the case of sugar-free products and value claims of all-natural ingredients. In this context, adult-orientated functional products such as medicated confectionery also continue to grow at a dynamic pace, benefiting from a wider range of flavours and imported brands to choose from.
The sugar confectionery environment was largely static in value share terms in 2019, with only marginal changes. The category continued to be led by Mondelez Costa Rica Ltda, followed by the dominant local player, Cooperativa de Productos de Leche Dos Pinos, RL.
A growing base of imported brands continue to develop the offer of sugar-free confectionery proposals, where brands such as Brach’s, De Bron and the local Sweet Well continue to gain momentum across modern grocery retailers. As a result of this rising trend, Walmart has also opted to offer its own adult-orientated sugar-free products under its Great Value private label range.
Adult-orientated brands such as Halls, Ricola, Tic-Tac, Mentos, Altoids and Cracked Candy continue to achieve more dynamic growth rates in comparison with more generic/child-orientated alternatives. As well as providing a range of sugar-free options, they also meet consumers’ increasing requirements for products offering more functional claims, such as breath-freshening attributes, or relief from a sore throat.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Packaged Food market research database.