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Profile of the U.S. Chocolate Industry

U.S. Chocolate and Cocoa Industry Overview
As of August 9, 2011

According to the Cocoa Grinds Report, a quarterly report for cocoa traders and others in the industry produced in cooperation between NCA and the New York Board of Trade, 1st Quarter grindings in 2012 reached 119,022 metric tons - a decrease of 4.04 percent (5,006 mt) over 2011. These data are reported from 17 U.S. plants.

According to NCA estimates, based on the U.S. Census Bureau's annual 311D Confectionery Report, retail sales of chocolate confectionery in all channels reached $18 billion in 2010. Annual sales have increased 3 to 4 percent per year for the past several years, and market research firm Packaged Facts forecasts the industry will grow to $18 billion by 2011.

Strong sales have been lead by increased activity in dark chocolate and gourmet products. Strong consumer interest in the reported health benefits of dark chocolate and a general trend towards product premiumization (including organic and fair trade products) are the main drivers in current market growth. In 2009, dark chocolate sales are estimated to have increased 9 percent. While every day gourmet items fell flat after several years of double digit growth, products at the top range of premium offerings continued to see growth and the category commands significantly more market share than it did five years ago. 

The market share for premium chocolate escalated from 13 percent of the total market in 2002 to nearly 17 percent in 2006.  Packaged Facts estimates that premium chocolate sales will continue to expand, commanding 25 percent of the market by 2011 and generating $4.5 billion in sales.

According to Department of Commerce numbers, consumption has remained very stable in the past decade.

  • In 2000, chocolate consumption was 3.323 billion lbs
  • In 2010, chocolate consumption was 3.616 billion lbs

In 2010, the U.S. exported over $1 billion worth of bulk and retail chocolate to markets around the world.