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The changing face of Europe's private label chocolate market

Cocoa
  • Cacao

For many years, supermarket chocolate brands were unappealing to European consumers. These chocolates were associated to low-quality cocoa blends, packaged in plain and simple materials with a generic design. By far not a market that exporters of specialty cocoa would ever consider exploring. These days are over.

For several years now, retailers have innovated their private label products and adapted their assortments to meet changing consumer demand. As a result, supermarket chocolates brand sales are reaching new highs in Europe, and have never been this innovative or popular. It is a market that becomes more and more interesting to exporters of specialty cocoa targeting the European market.

More variety and sustainable

Retailers are tagging on to modern-day trends, developing products at accessible prices that appeal to consumers of all profiles. Vegan, sugar-free and single-origin chocolates are no longer an exclusivity of high-end brands. Neither is sustainability. European retailers are increasingly endorsing and using environmental and social principles. This is reflected in their chocolate assortment, as the offering of organic and fair trade private label chocolates in supermarkets is larger than ever.

These chocolate trends were seen at this year’s World of Private Label exhibition in Amsterdam, hosted by the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA). At this exhibition, supermarkets displayed some of their most innovative products at the Idea Supermarket area, which included Spar’s Natural Organic Fairtrade Extra Dark Chocolate and E-Leclerc’s L’origine du goût chocolate collection, made from Nicaraguan single origin cocoa.

Opportunities in the mass retail market

To producers in cocoa-producing countries, these developments open up opportunities in the mass retail market. Supermarkets increasingly offer high-quality and exclusive private label chocolate, which creates higher demand for specialty cocoa beans. Understanding and exploring the private label market will be essential in targeting the right buyer for your cocoa beans, so you can distinguish yourself from your competitors.

Do you want to know more about other interesting opportunities in the European cocoa sector? Read our study on trends on the European cocoa market.