The value of the chocolate industry has increased by 5 percent over the past year, and it is currently worth nearly PLN 7.2 billion. The increase in value is the result of rising prices and growing sales of brand and premium products. Polish consumers already spend and are ready to spend more in the future. They look for products that stand out from the rest by using original ingredients, developing sophisticated flavor combinations and designing elegant packaging. This is in line with the global trend of producing premium products, which is manifested primarily in growing quality expectations and focusing on the added value of the product (e.g. attractive design). In the coming year, we expect a further increase in the chocolate industry in terms of value, partly due to consumers’ greater purchasing power. Prices, and consequently the value of the industry, will also go up due to the dynamically rising costs of business operations (e.g. energy prices).
2020 will be a year of consumer convenience. All this is due to the rapid development of convenience stores, the transformation of discount stores into so-called corner stores and growth in the segment of small-sized products for immediate consumption. Due to the further restrictions on Sunday trade, we expect to see sales outlets “close to home” develop further at the expense of hypermarkets (which are recording a clear decline).
We also assume the maintenance of high-growth dynamics for chocolate products with a higher cocoa content, especially bitter chocolates, because the health and wellness trend is not weakening. More and more of us are looking for healthier versions of dishes and snacks, including sweets.
Ice Cream Opportunities
Growth in the chocolate industry remains stable at a few percents a year, as the market is already mature. We can observe much higher increases in the ice cream category, for which we forecast an upward trend until 2023. The good condition of this industry is influenced by various factors, including climate change (high temperatures), which determine the needs of consumers to seek sweet refreshment. At the same time, it is important to emphasize the high growth potential for this category in our country – Poles still consume less ice cream than Germans, Swedes or Americans.
The most promising sales channels for ice cream are discounters, which show continuous growth and traditional channels, which account for almost half of the market. Premiumization also applies to the ice cream category – a constantly increasing range of “high-end” replacing private labels. This relationship can be treated as a standard in the economic cycle that we are witnessing in the current economic climate.
On the one hand, buyers are open to new products and like to be surprised, which opens an area for new brands and formats, on the other hand, traditional flavors such as cream/vanilla, chocolate, strawberry are still the most popular. When it comes to new formats, so-called pouches – ice cream in sachets – were first propagated on Asian markets and are now conquering European markets, including Poland. New ice cream flavors that are now popular are combinations of sweet-and-sour and sweet-and-salty ingredients. Double-branding based on the cooperation of two producers specializing in a particular area, e.g. fruit ice and chocolate, is an increasingly popular trend.
The characteristic feature of the Polish ice cream market is the higher share of impulse formats – we rarely choose family formats, which shows that ice cream has not (yet) replaced traditional desserts, i.e. cakes. At the same time, we are observing an increase in ice cream sales in the multipack formula, mainly due to the rise of discount stores.
The expectations of retail chains are also a challenge when it comes to reducing the number of products in bulk cartons to make more efficient use of freezer space. For manufacturers, this involves additional packaging and logistics costs.
The general trend for the food industry is the growing expectations of buyers, who are bolder and eager for rich taste sensations. At the same time, consumers are becoming more aware of product composition, production methods, and packaging, to which manufacturers are responding with vegan alternatives, environmentally friendly packaging or so-called clean labels.
Maciej Herman, Managing Director, Wedel