Barry Callebaut consumer survey

Barry Callebaut consumer survey shows: Chocolate lovers seek new taste experiences and display an appetite for premium chocolate

News Release
  • More than one in three consumers in Western Europe and the U.S. have recently changed their chocolate eating behavior in favor of premium chocolate 
  • Seasonal chocolate gifting big in the U.S., less prominent in traditional chocolate markets such as Belgium, France and Switzerland

The world’s most avid chocolate fans, which eat chocolate several times a week, live in the U.K. (46%), Switzerland (45%) and Belgium (43%), according to a recent consumer survey conducted on behalf of Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high quality cocoa and chocolate products. While many chocolate lovers stick to one type of chocolate (brand loyalty 45%, habit 39%), more than one third of all consumers in Western Europe and the United States want more choice and many have discovered the delights of premium chocolate.

Premium chocolate: Origin chocolate on top

Chocolate fans increasingly seek new taste experiences and turn to premium chocolate to indulge their sweet tooth. 12% regularly try different chocolate types. German consumers are especially keen on change: 25% of German chocolate lovers surveyed regularly try different types and flavors. Amid a trend towards premium chocolate, origin, organic and fair trade chocolates are becoming increasingly popular across all markets.

Four out of ten respondents (42%) throughout Western Europe and the U.S. have already discovered origin chocolate, which is made with cocoa beans harvested in one specific country. This represents an increase of 26 percentage points compared to 2006 (from 16% to 42%). One fifth of all consumers (19%) eat it at least once a month. Traditional chocolate countries such as Switzerland (11%) and Belgium (9%) have the highest weekly consumption.

The most avid fans of origin chocolates are the Americans (53%) and the Swiss (52%). The Swiss are the most regular consumers of origin chocolate with 23% enjoying it at least a few times a month. 


Our direct sourcing activities in the world's principal cocoa-growing countries enabled us to develop the largest range of origin chocolates available on the market. Barry Callebaut has more than 40 different origins on offer whose unique taste is a real discovery for chocolate lovers across the globe. These finest-quality origin chocolates are made from rare cocoa beans grown on far-away, small plantations or even from vintage beans.
Hans Vriens, Chief Innovation Officer at Barry Callebaut

Barry Callebaut expands its range of origin chocolates and cocoa

To cater for the growing demand for origin chocolate Barry Callebaut has recently launched 6 new country origins chocolates4 new regional origins and 5 new origin cocoa powders, as well as 10 new “Limited Edition” country origin chocolates. These finest-quality chocolates are the outcome of rare and meticulously selected cocoa beans grown and harvested under specific local conditions, from plantations, with specific certifications, or even from a specific year.

The rise of single origin and limited edition chocolate is an important driver for change on the chocolate market. These original chocolate varieties are an excellent way for smaller and mid-size companies to successfully differentiate themselves from mainstream chocolates. Nowadays, chocolate consumption is coming to resemble to the way we enjoy wine: we sample and compare different tastes.
Hans Vriens, Chief Innovation Officer at Barry Callebaut

Organic and fair trade

The same growth in popularity is seen in fair trade and organic chocolates. In 2008, 33% of consumers said they had tried fair trade chocolate, while 24% had tried organic chocolate, representing a +23 percentage point and +17 percentage point. Increase respectively vs 2006. Switzerland (46%) and the U.K. (43%) are home to the most avid fair trade consumers. Leaders in the organic segment are consumers in the U.S. (38%) and the U.K. (31%).

Brand-loyal chocolate lover

For nearly half the consumers surveyed the brand name matters most in their choice of chocolate. This is most notably the case for consumers in Germany, the U.S. (both 59%), the U.K. (53%) and Switzerland (39%). For 1 out for 4 consumers, buying chocolate is all about habit. Belgian and French consumers are the uncrowned European 'creatures of habit'. 68% of Belgian and 45% of French consumers always buy the same brand.

Does price matter? For some absolutely:

Germans are the most price-conscious chocolate buyers (35%), closely followed by 31% of American and 27% of French consumers. Not surprisingly, the same French (26%) and American (20%) consumers state they are sensitive to promotions. A real American reflex: when tasted during a sampling session in the shop or store, 31% of American consumers buy the product on the spot.

Chocolate popular as a gift and as a seasonal treat

While 72% of consumers say they need no special occasion to buy chocolate, one-fourth say chocolate is an ideal gift for any occasion. Seasonal chocolate gifting is a big ticket item in the U.S.: Christmas (45%), Valentine's Day (44%) and Easter (41%) represent real chocolate gifting peaks. In traditional chocolate markets where daily chocolate consumption is high, such as Belgium, France and Switzerland, seasonal gifting is less prominent. Belgians, who are among the top consumers of chocolate per capita in Europe, don’t need a special occasion to buy chocolate. Only 8 % of them buy it for Christmas and 19% for Easter. 


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Barry Callebaut:

With annual sales of more than CHF 4 billion for fiscal year 2006/07, Zurich-based Barry Callebaut is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products – from the cocoa bean to the finished product on the store shelf. Barry Callebaut is present in 24 countries, operates about 40 production facilities and employs approximately 8,000 people. The company serves the entire food industry, from food manufacturers to professional users of chocolate (such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs or bakers), to global retailers. It also provides a comprehensive range of services in the fields of product development, processing, training and marketing.

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