Increasing Health Consciousness Continues to Drive Plant-Based Chocolate Boom

United States
Published Feb 1, 2024
The global food and beverage industry is witnessing a continued surge in health-conscious consumers in 2024, driving demand for plant-based chocolate, especially from those following a flexitarian diet. North America and Europe lead in this trend, notably in categories like chocolate confectionery, bakery items, and biscuits. A survey by Barry Callebaut reveals that 60% of consumers aged 18 to 44 expect plant-based chocolate options, indicating a significant market opportunity. Plant Based News UK projects the global plant-based chocolate sector to grow from USD 1 billion in 2023 to USD 4 billion by 2032, with a notable annual growth rate of 15.5%. Tridge's tools, including Tridge TDS and Social Marketplace, offer valuable insights and connections for buyers looking to navigate this dynamic market.

In 2024, the food and beverage industry continues to witness a surge in health-conscious consumers, a trend that has led to an increase in demand for plant-based products. Consequently, consumers adhering to a flexitarian diet — a primarily vegetarian diet with occasional meat and dairy consumption – continue to steer the demand for plant-based chocolate, driven by motivations such as health consciousness, taste preferences, and a desire for variety. This growing demand is more prevalent in North America. However, there is also considerable demand in the European market.

The growing demand for plant-based chocolate is translating into strong sales, particularly in chocolate confectionery, bakery items, and biscuits. According to a recent survey performed by Barry Callebaut, a well-known Swiss chocolate and cocoa product maker, 60% of consumers aged 18 to 44 want chocolate businesses to provide plant-based alternatives. However, just 45% were satisfied with the existing choices of plant-based milk chocolate. This noticeable gap represents a significant opportunity for chocolate companies to enter this developing market.

According to Plant Based News UK data, the global plant-based chocolate sector is expected to expand considerably over the next decade, with its current valuation of USD 1 billion anticipated to soar to USD 4 billion by 2032. This projection implies a significant annual growth rate of 15.5%. In contrast, the broader chocolate market, valued at USD 262.5 billion in 2022, is expected to experience a more moderate annual growth rate of 3.7%.

Figure 1: Global Plant-Based Chocolate Sales Projection (2023-2032)

Source: Plant Based News UK, Tridge

Dairy-free chocolate presently constitutes 40% of the entire vegan confectionery sector, including plant-based chocolate, with the potential for further expansion. Notably, Europe demonstrates significant demand for vegan chocolate. A recent survey by global market intelligence agency Mintel revealed considerable interest in plant-based chocolate among respondents in France (53%), Poland (53%), Spain (55%), and Italy (48%). A key driver in the plant-based market, Germany indicated that 44% of chocolate enthusiasts were open to trying vegan options. This data underscores the growing acceptance and interest in plant-based chocolate across diverse consumer demographics.

Tridge offers several tools that can assist buyers in penetrating the plant-based chocolate market. One crucial tool is the Tridge Transaction Data Service (TDS), which allows buyers to identify verified suppliers and access essential trade histories. This data-driven approach equips buyers with insights into market dynamics, supplier performance, and historical pricing trends. In turn, this enables them to negotiate better deals and build enduring relationships with trusted suppliers.

On the other hand, Tridge’s Social Marketplace offers a platform for buyers to discover and connect with suitable trade partners. This fosters collaboration and facilitates efficient communication between buyers and suppliers, crucial for ensuring a stable and reliable procurement process.

Tridge's Outlook Reports further enhance the buyer's toolkit by offering valuable insights into the chocolate and cocoa market. These reports cover market intelligence, trends, and strategic considerations. Equipped with this knowledge, buyers can adapt their strategies with agility and foresight, staying ahead in a dynamic and growing chocolate sector. For chocolate buyers in major importing countries such as the United States (US), Germany, France, and the Netherlands, Tridge's integrated approach ensures they have the necessary tools and information to navigate the challenges posed by the current market conditions effectively.

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