A delectable combination of rising disposable incomes, changing lifestyles and a young population’s growing penchant for indulgence has transformed India into one of the fastest growing chocolate markets in the world.
In as early as 1998, India’s largest chocolate maker, Mondelēz —earlier called Cadbury — introduced chocolate packets that cost as low as Rs 5. This was mainly to persuade non-users to try the products and to penetrate into rural areas.
But now, all the chocolate makers are expanding their range of premium chocolates for an urban clientele with a more international palette.
The Growth of Chocolate in India
The chocolate industry in India, valued at Rs 58 billion (USD 966 million) in FY 2014, has been growing at a CAGR of 15 per cent over the last three years. The industry will be worth nearly Rs 122 billion (USD 2,033 million) by FY 2019, growing at a CAGR of 16 per cent.
The per capita consumption of chocolates almost trebled from 2005 to 2012. In fact, chocolate sales in the country crossed Rs 10,000 crore in 2014, up 24 per cent from 2013.
The Change in Demand Pattern
Over the years, changes in consumers’ preferences and lifestyle, eating habits, and their global exposure to international brands gave a boost to the chocolate industry.
There was a time when chocolates were predominantly seen as a confectionery product for children, something which limited their consumption. However, the demand for this sweet delight has changed over time.
Today, it is consumed at any time, used for gifting as well as a celebratory consumption. This has opened up opportunities for the companies to bring niche products to the Indian market, which are new and innovative.
“As far as product innovation goes we are one step ahead from the current market trend and have always invented new product recipes and menu items, such as Chocizza which is a Chocolate Pizza, Chocolate Burgers, Chocolate Pancakes and our traditional Hot Chocolate served in Italian cuddle cup launched in India for the first time,” says Managing Director, The Chocolate Room, Vikas Panjabi.
“We are on the verge of some new implementations in the menu such as fat free chocolate frappes, chocolate bombs; chocolate injection shots to name a few which we feel will set a new platform in this chocolate industry,” he adds.
“To take innovation in chocolate industry one notch higher, Chocolate World, the Belgian equipment manufacturer has introduced many innovations to the chocolate industry. Some of them are highest quality poly carbonate moulds that help to make and shape the best and finest chocolates in the world. For the first time ever in chocolate history, Chocolate World has partnered with leading chocolatiers from across the world and created signature moulds with very unique shapes,” says Chief Tasting Officer, Cocoatrait, L Nitin Chordia.
The chocolate industry in India is growing at nearly 20 per cent every year and more and more brands are setting up shop in India. This has opened employment opportunities, raising the need for skilled personnel like chocolate tasting officers.
Keeping up with the times, Cocoashala – the country’s first chocolate institute – is offering courses that people keen on joining the industry can take.
“Cocoashala, India’s first chocolate institute, will offer Chocolate Tasting certifications that will be accredited by The International Institute of Chocolate Tasting, London,” says Chordia.
The Chocolate Controversy
The Wall Street Journal has recently reported that production in Ghana — the second-largest cocoa-growing country in the world — has continuously dropped since last year. This has resulted in driving up the prices of chocolates, leaving lesser profit margins for manufacturers.
However, to remain unaffected in the long term, Cocoashala has already outlined a plan to grow chocolate in India.
“There has been continuous pressure on the supply side and as the demand is going up, it has resulted in higher prices. At Cocoashala we have outlined a specific bean to bar making course that will teach chocolatiers to make chocolates from Indian cocoa beans (bean to bar) and protect themselves from price increase. Using cocoa beans grown in India will ensure that we tap new sources of beans and also promote Make in India in the process,” says Nitin Chordia.
There is always a phase when the market is up or down, recently cocoa has been on the other side facing the crunch. However, experts believe it’s just a phase and should get solved over the time.