Mintel: Easter-themed chocolate market 'recession resistant'

CHICAGO — Global Easter-themed chocolate product launches have increased 45% over the past year, according to new Mintel research.

As Easter-themed new product development during 2012 has risen 45%, Mintel said that global new chocolate product launches declined by 7% between 2010 and 2011 — with global launches of premium chocolate products declining 10% — however, products with seasonal claims increased 6% over the same period. What's more, 25% of all global chocolate launches in 2011 were for chocolate products with a "seasonal" positioning (e.g., Christmas-, Easter-, Halloween-themed, etc.).

In the United States, the seasonal chocolate market represented a $4.9 billion market in 2011, up 6.4% from 2010. Mintel also noted that the United States accounts for the largest percentage of all seasonal launches at 18%. Up north, Canada has seen the biggest increase in seasonal activity, increasing 89% between 2010 and 2011; the nation accounts for 7% of all NPD activity Mintel found.

But while seasonal activity is thriving, the number of seasonal launches aimed at children ages between 5 years and 12 years has declined in a number of regions over the past 12 months. In 2011, child-focused launches were down 62% in the United States, likely prompted by the shift towards healthier products due to the rising obesity rate, Mintel said.

"This year has proved to be a real hot-bed of activity for Easter chocolate NPD," said Marcia Mogelonsky, director of insight for Mintel Food and Drink. "Seasonal chocolate is, if anything more 'recession resistant' than the overall market, as the products have broad appeal as gifts for a wide range of recipients, from friends to relatives and co-workers. Easter has consistently led other holidays in innovation — and in sales — as it is a holiday with a strong affinity for confectionery through gift baskets, egg hunts, and other family-focused traditions."

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