The Indian market is thought to be worth some 15bn rupee (€0.25bn) and has been hailed as offering great potential for Western chocolate manufacturers as the market is still in its early stages. Chocolate consumption is gaining popularity in the country due to increasing prosperity coupled with a shift in food habits, pushing up the country's cocoa imports. Firms across the country have announced plans to step-up domestic production from 10,000 tonnes to 16,000 tonnes, according to Reuters. The country's annual cocoa demand is thought to be around 18,000 tonnes. To secure good quality raw material in the long term, private players like Cadbury India are encouraging cocoa cultivation, the news agency said. "Cocoa requirement is growing around 15 percent annually and will reach about 30,000 tonnes in the next 5 years," Cadbury India said in the article. Market potential Indeed, according to an industry study in October by Reporter Buyer, a burgeoning taste for chocolate in this region is driving domestic demand, creating new markets for chocolate makers. Compared to the highly developed confectionery markets in Western countries, Asian countries are at earlier stages of development, according to the report Chocolate Challenges. For example, the US market is valued at between $14bn (€9.9bn) and $17bn (€12bn), while India's chocolate operations are valued at only $188.6m (€132.8m). But China, India and Japan have huge potential for chocolate companies, the report states, and chocolate consumption in the region is currently increasing at a rate of 25 per cent a year in the Asia-Pacific region.