Indians are eating more chocolate than ever before because they think it is healthy

The good stuff.
The good stuff.
Image: Reuters/Phil Noble
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Indians have a massive sweet tooth, and the proof is in the booming demand for chocolate.

In 2016, India consumed an estimated 228 thousand tonnes of chocolate confectionary, up 50% from the 152 thousand tonnes consumed in 2011, according to market research firm Mintel.

Behind this growth is a simple fact: chocolate confectionery is one of India’s favourite snacks.

“Our research indicates that consumers in India believe chocolate to be beneficial and convenient—seemingly the key reasons behind the growth of the country’s chocolate confectionery market, both in value and volume,” Marcia Mogelonsky, director of insight at Mintel Food and Drink, said in a statement.

In a consumer study, Mintel found that over two in five Indian consumers believe sweet or sugary snacks like chocolates and cakes are healthy, with one in three looking to these kinds of snacks as an energy-source. Moreover, over 40% said they consumed chocolate, cake, and other sweet snacks between lunch and dinner.

The popularity of chocolate in India is also linked to its affordability. The chocolate market is dominated by global giants Mondelēz and Nestlé, which sell local favourites such as Cadbury Dairy Milk and Munch, respectively. The secret to their success: inexpensive chocolate products priced as low as Rs5 ($0.08) for a bar to appeal to value-conscious consumers. Mintel says the most popular chocolates in India are those sold in Rs5 and Rs10 packages.

India’s love for all things sweet is expected to push demand for chocolate products even higher in the coming years. Mintel forecasts that the country’s chocolate market will hit Rs32,000 crore by 2020, up over 160% from Rs12,000 crore in 2015, making it one of the world’s fastest-growing. Fortunately, this comes at a time when global cocoa supplies from key growers such as the Ivory Coast and Ghana have recovered after months of concern that demand would outstrip supply.

India’s current chocolate consumption still trails that of Western countries, notably the US, which devoured 1.3 million tonnes of the good stuff in 2016. And that means there’s lots more room to grow.