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Wed Sep 02 02:20:45 SAST 2015

SA's chocolate market worth R5 billion annually, set for growth

Times LIVE | 06 December, 2012 11:02
File photo.
Image by: Jacky Naegelen / REUTERS

South Africa’s chocolate market has experienced much change over the last decade and the market is shifting once again.

The predicted overall growth of the South African retail chocolate market far exceeds the global average and small artisan chocolate manufacturers are beginning to enjoy a larger chunk of the market as South African consumers become more sophisticated buyers.

Currently, the retail chocolate market is valued at R5.03 billion and is predicted to grow at a rate of more than 10% per annum over the next five years.

"Consistent growth is expected to continue in the retail chocolate market, despite the increasing cost of chocolate products, due to rising raw material costs," says Sarah O’Carroll, Industry Analyst at growth consulting company, Frost&Sullivan.

The market is primarily driven by increasing disposable incomes and South Africa’s growing middle class. Festive and occasional sales play an important role in the market, boosting sales regularly throughout the year, as consumers buy cyclical chocolate products as gifts.

South African consumers are becoming more sophisticated and are increasingly searching for premium chocolate products that are differentiated from common brands found in the retail sector.

The market is, however, restrained by consumer belief that consuming chocolate carries health risks such as weight gain and increased cholesterol. This is true for milk and white chocolate which have high calorie counts due to significant amounts of sugar and saturated fat.

However research has shown that dark chocolate (containing at least 70% cocoa solids) can have several health benefits, including increasing mood levels and providing anti-oxidants.

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