Dark Chocolate Is Here To Stay

Products come and go in the candy marketplace, where fads and trends are sometimes hard to tell apart. One thing is certain, however; dark chocolate has created a permanent home with consumers and savvy retailers.
The growth in sales of dark chocolate products since 2003 can only be described as explosive – up 12% in 2004, then up 24% in 2005, and up 29% for the latest 52 weeks so far in 2006(1). In the same time frame, milk chocolate sales were flat, peanut butter chocolates were up 7%, and so-called white chocolate sales were up 2%. Thanks to dark chocolate, all chocolate category sales were up 3% (2).
There are two major reasons for the growth in dark chocolate sales. One is the expanding body of scientific research relating to “heart healthy” benefits of cocoa flavanoids, compounds naturally found in cocoa beans. The second reason? Consumers like dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is a less sweet and more intense chocolate experience because dark chocolate is closer to the cocoa bean and in tune with the consumer’s growing palate sophistication and desire to try new flavor experiences.
Mars, Incorporated is a pioneer when it comes to dark chocolate research. We’ve been involved with cocoa science for decades, researching the health benefits of cocoa flavanoids leading to over 100 published research papers and over 80 U.S. patents. Importantly, we know how to process cocoa beans to maximize the heart healthy benefits of cocoa flavanoids, knowledge incorporated in our exclusive Cocoapro™ technology (4) utilized in the production of Mars, Incorporated chocolate products.
We introduced Dove® Milk and Dove® Dark in 1991, and this is one of the few chocolate brands that was introduced in dark and milk right from the beginning. Our belief and investment in Dove® Dark paid off – today Dove® Dark Chocolate is the best selling brand of dark chocolate in the U.S.(3), testimony to the superior premium rich taste and silky smooth texture of Dove® Dark. In fact, Dove® Dark is growing significantly faster than even the dark chocolate category, which is really saying something!(1) Dove® Dark is available in a variety of forms and flavors including Large Bars, Dove® Almonds, and regular bars. We’re currently introducing Dove® Sugar Free in three dark chocolate flavors; double chocolate crème, raspberry crème and mint crème. At just 38 calories per piece, this total chocolate experience will prove irresistible to health-conscious consumers.
Back By Popular Demand
We found out first hand just how popular dark chocolate can be when we introduced a limited edition of M&M’s® Dark Chocolate last summer in a “Go to the Dark Side” promotion with a Star Wars movie. After consumer supplies were no longer available, we received over 30,000 consumer calls or e-mails asking us to bring back M&M’s® Dark Chocolate! We got the message and right now we’re in a national roll out of M&M’s® Dark Chocolate.
Snickers® Original Dark and Snickers® Dark Almond will be shipping in November, 2006 for a limited time only, subject to consumer phone calls and e-mails rolling in!
Dark chocolate from Mars, Incorporated is an attractive package – the great taste of chocolate and certain types may even provide health benefits. Mars, Incorporated’s vision and research helped pioneer the dark chocolate market, and we intend to keep right on producing dark chocolate as well as other great tasting products tuned to consumer needs. And we’ll continue to provide maximum trade support. It’s what we do, and we’re happy to do it.