China's chocolate market


Barry Callebaut continues to tap into China’s chocolate market, as reported last month when it opened its new Chocolate Academy and office in Shenzhen.

According to the Association of Chinese Chocolate Manufacturers, China consumed a mere 70 grams of chocolate per capita every year. This figure seems small compared to its neighboring countries, Japan and South Korea where they consumed 2 kilograms. In Europe, the average consumption of chocolate is 7 kilograms per person annually.

China has an estimated population of about 1.4 billion, the chocolate market is worth 35 billion yuan, offering huge potential.

More and more brands are still trying to tap the enormous potential in China.

Ben De Schryver, President Barry Callebaut’s Asia Pacific said,

As a global leader in the chocolate industry, serving food manufacturers and professional users of chocolate, we are excited about the great growth potential of China.

Domestic chocolate production is increasing, and we have experienced double-digit growth in China over the last four years. Our confidence in the future development of the chocolate market in China, together with the desire to better serve our Chinese customers, have prompted the expansion of our footprint and distribution network across China over the next few years.

For most Chinese consumers, chocolate is not eaten regularly on its own. It is usually consumed in pastries and ice-cream, but it is seen increasingly incorporated into local foods, such as steamed buns and sticky rice.

George Zhang, Managing Director Barry Callebaut China believes that chocolate consumption in China is driven by millennials and the younger generation of consumers who are more willing to explore different flavours in foods.

Consumers are also looking for more gourmet products with chocolate such as ice cream, bakery and even beverages.

For example, local brand Milk Dog recently launched its premium milk using Barry Callebaut’s premium chocolate, Callebaut 823.

It contains 10 times more Belgium chocolate than its competitors on the market.

Although the China chocolate market is still very much dominated by international brands such as, Mars, Ferrero and Nestle, the booming e-commerce sector has allowed more local brands to increase exposure to consumers.

George Zhang said,

The China chocolate market is showing promising growth. Increasingly, local food manufacturers are introducing innovative products to refresh consumers’ perception such as products with new flavors.

The rising incomes in China consumers boosted demand for higher quality and premium chocolate products such as ruby chocolate – which are gradually being introduced in the country.

China has the largest e-commerce market in the world, and sales of our premium chocolate products on our online platform have tripled in the last 2 years.

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