Amidst an appetite for architecture and awe, such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest building, it appears that residents of the United Arab Emirates, have a taste for chocolate.

According to a recently published report by TechSci Research “UAE Chocolate Market Opportunities & Forecast 2019,” chocolate sales are projected to register a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of around 6.09 percent during 2014-2019.

The study affirms that the UAE chocolate market is emerging as one of the most potential high-growth markets across the globe because of the following: a growing number of international chocolate companies along with domestic players; changing taste and preferences of consumers in the UAE; changing consumption patterns; and a rise in disposable income.

Of course, the increase in chocolate sales dovetails directly with a rise in the number of retail and distribution stores in the country. Due to busier life schedules and the intake of high-fat content food, the country is also witnessing a significant increase in the number of diabetic and obese patients. As result, such consumers are demanding sugar-free chocolates manufactured using low-fat, organic ingredients.

The report reveals that Mars GCC, Nestle Middle East FZE, Cadbury Middle East FZE and the Lindt & Sprüngli Group are the major chocolate companies operating in the UAE. These players are offering their chocolate products to consumers through hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores.

Since many consumers in the UAE prefer private-label chocolates, some of the domestic companies are even offering their chocolate offerings under private labels at comparatively lower prices, while some branded players are setting up high-end boutiques to address premium chocolate demand among the higher-income consumers in the country.

“The UAE chocolate market is governed by various international, domestic and private label players, offering diverse chocolates to address the demand for various consumer segments in the country,” says Karan Chechi, research director with TechSci Research.

“With the rising number of diabetics in the country, the demand for dark chocolates has spiked in the UAE,” he asserts. “Due to significant growth in the purchasing power of consumers and rising culture of gifting chocolates, sales of premium boxed chocolates available in varied shapes and attractive packaging are expected to grow in the coming years.”

Naturally, given the growth opportunities as well as the low-entry barriers to the market, Chechi expects several new entrants into the UAE chocolate market in the near future.