Results of European consumer survey by Barry Callebaut predict fast-growing demand for healthy chocolate

1 in 3 Europeans want chocolate with health benefits
  • 1 in 3 Europeans (36%) wants chocolate with health benefits; almost 4 in 10 Europeans (38%) want chocolate with naturally reduced sugar content
  • Europeans believe that chocolate has a positive influence on psychological and physical wellbeing: it is good for the morale (53%), it provides energy (48%), it is good for the memory (15%), it is good for the heart and the cardiovascular system (13%)
  • Barry Callebaut is launching innovations to meet the changing consumer demand: 
    ACTICOATM 2, the richest natural source of health-promoting polyphenols
    chocolate enriched in dietary fibres to reduce sugar content by up to 40%.3
  • Barry Callebaut also caters to the growing demand for premium chocolate and an exquisite taste experience with the introduction of new origin cocoa and chocolates. To come forward to the growing concerns about the environment as well as ethical issues are growing among consumers, Barry Callebaut now has a chocolate available with two certifications: Bio Fairtrade chocolate.

Europeans are chocolate lovers. According to a recent consumer survey by Barry Callebaut conducted in five European countries with a long-standing chocolate tradition, 1 in 2 (52.8%) eats chocolate at least once a week; 8 in 10 (79.8%) eat it at least a couple of times a month. Belgians and Swiss lead the category: 62% of Belgians and 60% of Swiss enjoy chocolate at least a couple of times a week. The survey results were presented at the International Sweets Fair ISM in Cologne.


Milk chocolate remains the most popular taste: 58% of European consumers say they eat milk chocolate, closely followed by dark chocolate (43%) and chocolate with nuts, raisins or nougat (41%). France stands out among European preferences: at 57%, dark chocolate is the most popular taste in that country. Even though Germany is traditionally a milk chocolate-eating country, there are already as many as 37% of German consumers that eat dark chocolate. While ‘regular’ chocolate remains popular (88.8%), there is an increasing popularity of single-origin chocolate (10.8%) and Fairtrade chocolate (8.2%). The UK leads the way: 22% go for single-origin chocolate, 14% for Fairtrade chocolate.


While functional food in general (i.e. food that has been shown to have a positive effect on specific functions or systems in the body) is on the rise worldwide, there is hardly any functional chocolate product available in the market today. Therefore, consumption of functional chocolate is still very low, at a mere 1.6%. This is coupled with Europeans’ limited knowledge of the beneficial effects of cocoa: a surprising fact given that thousands of years ago, before cocoa came to Europe, the ancient cultures of the Mayas and the Aztecs already used cocoa as a medicine. The majority of Europeans rightly believe that chocolate is good for morale (53%) and that it gives energy (36.6%). But knowledge of other - proven - effects appears to be low: it improves the memory (15.4%), it is good for the heart and vascular system (13.8%), it contains anti-cancerous substances (7.6%). Especially French and Swiss consumers firmly know and understand the health benefits of chocolate, whereas British consumers are by far the most skeptical in Europe. Despite this limited knowledge, it appears that when asked, the market potential for functional chocolate is considerable: more than 1 in 3 (36%) wants to buy chocolate that actively benefits health. And there is great enthusiasm for chocolate with naturally reduced sugar levels (as long as the flavor of the chocolate is not altered). Almost 4 Europeans in 10 (38%) are keen to have this type of chocolate, and are prepared to pay up to 10% more for it.

Barry Callebaut: world leader and innovative trendsetter in chocolate 
1 in 4 chocolate products in the world are made with chocolate from Barry Callebaut. The world’s largest manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products for the entire food industry maintains this leading position with the intensive development of new, natural products that always go back to the goodness of the cocoa bean.


“Chocolate is a natural, delicious and healthy product. It has a low glycaemic index and the cocoa bean contains about 230 substances that potentially have a beneficial effect on our health,” says Hans Vriens, Chief Innovation Officer at Barry Callebaut.“Nevertheless, a large number of people associate eating chocolate with feelings of guilt. At Barry Callebaut, we are working hard on that – unjustified – ‘guilty feeling’ with the development of ‘guilt free’ chocolate. This is chocolate that is every bit as delicious as standard chocolate and that offers, additionally, active health benefits. In this regard, Barry Callebaut has two leading innovations: chocolate in which the sugar content has been reduced by 40% by natural means, and ACTICOA™: a revolutionary process for making chocolate with high concentrations of polyphenols. Recent, new research with cocoa polyphenols is adding weight to long-suspected links between cocoa and the prevention of cancer4, the improvement of heart-health, and that cocoa polyphenols might make you live longer5. Extremely exciting prospects – both for Barry Callebaut and the consumer.”


Barry Callebaut: always one step ahead of the market, thanks to innovations

There are three major consumer trends: health & wellbeing, taste experience & indulgence, and convenience. Barry Callebaut’s intense innovative efforts also includes the areas of convenience of use and taste experience or indulgence. The introduction of a wide range of single origin chocolates and new flavors offers the consumer a new chocolate experience: 6 new origin chocolates, 5 new origin powders and The Golden Chocolate Collection – six precious chocolates in line with the taste preferences of Belgian, French, German and Swiss consumers – will be launched at ISM 2007.



1. European survey conducted in November and December 2006 by independent research bureau IPSOS. Participating countries: Belgium, Germany, France, UK, Switzerland


2. Barry Callebaut’s ACTICOA™ chocolate is now the richest natural source of antioxidants, containing a much higher polyphenol concentration than red wine and green tea. In fact, dark ACTICOA™ chocolate contains twice as much cocoa polyphenols than standard dark chocolate. ACTICOA™ milk chocolate contains as much cocoa polyphenols as standard dark chocolate and 4 times more than standard milk chocolate. Everything about cocoa polyphenols and their health benefits can now be discovered online at It provides information for consumers as well as for professionals.


3. Barry Callebaut offers sugar-reduced chocolate by enriching it with dietary fibres and using the natural sweetness of the cocoa bean, to replace up to 40% of the sugar in normal chocolate’s sugar. The dietary fibres used in this chocolate offer significant positive health effects such as improved immune system, better gut function, and lasting satiety.


4. See press release: Discover how healthy pure indulgence can be on


5. See press release: Exciting new research points to the potentially life-prolonging effects of Barry Callebaut’s ACTICOA™ chocolate: Chocolate That Makes You Live Longer


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Barry Callebaut:

With annual sales of more than CHF 4 billion for fiscal year 2005/06, Zurich-based Barry Callebaut is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa, chocolate and confectionery products – from the cocoa bean to the finished product on the store shelf. Barry Callebaut is present in 25 countries, operates more than 30 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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