Packaged Facts: U.S. chocolate sales reached nearly $20 billion last year

ROCKVILLE, Md. — The U.S. chocolate market continues to grow, according to a new Packaged Facts report.

Calling the market "mature, differentiated and demanding," Packaged Facts said it has projected that the U.S. market for chocolate sold at retail was $19.5 billion in 2011, up 6.6% over the previous year. The research firm said everyday chocolate, seasonal candies and premium chocolate all posted dollar gains for the market, though the sales also were driven in part by price increases implemented to offset rises in raw material and other costs. The main channel for chocolate sales continue to be supermarkets and convenience stores, but natural food stores also have seen gains, particularly in the organic chocolate category.

For the full report, "Chocolate Candy in the U.S.," click here.

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