In a new report entitled Chocalate in China, the market research organization said four of the top five companies in the Chinese chocolate market are foreign, with Mars, Kraft Foods and Hershey Foods Corporation leading the pack in 2010.
Although the top five players accounted for half of the Chinese chocolate market last year, the other half is extremely fragmented, Datamonitor said, with many smaller companies competing for market share.
Datamonitor estimated that the Chinese chocolate market was the ninth largest globally, worth about $1.6bn in 2010 – approximately 143.4m kilograms of chocolate in volume terms.
The category saw a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12% from 2005-2010, the researcher reported, and it estimates that the category’s sales value will continue to increase at a CAGR of 10% from 2010-2015.
“Most consumers are highly price conscious and buy cheap products,” the report said, although it added that Chinese consumers are embracing many of the trends in value-added chocolate that have been driving growth in the chocolate confectionery market in North America and Europe. These include increased demand for functional ingredients as consumers have become more health conscious, and the rise of single serve packages due to weight management concerns.
However, despite increasing demand for chocolate confectionery products that address health concerns, the primary market is still children, according to the report.
As for flavors, hazelnut, strawberry and almond were Chinese favourites in 2010, and pistachio, banana, peanut and blueberry were also popular.
Datamonitor also highlighted environmentalism as a factor that could give companies a competitive advantage, but “this is in its early days,” it said.