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For Dark Chocolate, Rising Costs Mean Waning Sales

Is dark chocolate's heyday over? For the candy industry, the numbers have been bittersweet: dark chocolate has experienced a huge surge in sales over the last couple of years, but research indicates that its popularity may have already peaked.

In recent years, chocolate connoisseurs has touted dark varieties as a delicacy with as much complexity in flavor as fine wine or cheese. Between 2007 and 2008, dark chocolate sales jumped 35 percent, a huge increase when compared to sales of other chocolate, which only increased 1.5 percent. But rising demand for the chocolate, which has a high level of cocoa solids, caused the price of cocoa beans to skyrocket — by 46 percent in the last six months. Costly materials have meant soaring prices for consumers, and between 2008 and 2009, dark chocolate sales decreased by 2.2 percent.

Market analysts are predicting dark chocolate sales will continue to decline. Said commodities analyst Judith Ganes-Chase, "It's a bubble that's going to burst. You have a combination of recession plus high prices. I just don't see how consumption can't drop sharply."

Given the indefinite length of this struggling economy, I could see the analyst's point. Come to think of it, I saw more milk chocolate at this year's San Francisco Chocolate Salon. What do you think of the news? Have you stopped buying costly dark chocolate?


Join The Conversation
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Personally I've been craving white chocolate more recently.
hedonistZahra hedonistZahra 8 years
People have become unnecessarily snobby about dark chocolate lately. There are some wonderful, high quality milk chocolates (Green & Blacks and Valrhona to name a few) out there that actually have higher cacao percentages than some of the cheaper "dark" chocolates. I own a small chocolate company, Hedonist Artisan Chocolates. We got our start with specialty dark chocolate truffles, but are now starting to add more milk chocolate truffles to our collections. Our customers are responding well. When I eat chocolate I don't want to be punished with bitter dark, I want to be treated with something sweet. My current favorite is our Sesame Milk Chocolate Bark, it is savory/sweet and makes me feel good. Isn't that what chocolate is all about? ZAHRA
zeze zeze 8 years
I love dark chocolate, it is so much better than the sugary stuff. I am addicted to the Chocolove and raspberries bar at Target.
cybele cybele 8 years
Okay, there's something wrong with the logic in that article. "The contrast between the price of milk chocolate and dark chocolate is highlighted by stopping at a Walgreens on Michigan Avenue. A Hershey's milk chocolate bar and Nestle Crunch each cost 89 cents, while the 72 percent cocoa Ghirardelli Intense Dark Twilight Delight bar will set you back $2.99. " Yes, a Hershey bar is 90 cents, but it's also 1.55 ounces. A Ghirardelli bar is 3.5 ounces for $3 ... when you put it that way, the difference isn't that big, especially when you don't WANT a Hershey bar. Still, I see quality products always having a place. We'll just buy smaller portions.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I don't really buy chocolate all that much. Every once in a great while I have a craving, so when I do I buy the good stuff.
lisabarn lisabarn 8 years
no, I would rather die then not eat dark chocolate, because what is life with out it? :-)
tuscanstellina tuscanstellina 8 years
It hasn't stopped me from buying the occasional treat.
miss-malone miss-malone 8 years
I've never bought much of it in the first place.. I don't really like chocolate. :shrug:
Rancher'sGirl Rancher'sGirl 8 years
I still buy dark chocolate because it is my preference but I buy gourmet or specialty chocolates much less often. I am more likely to buy "everyday brands" like Hershey's Special Dark or Dove Dark rather than Green & Black, for instance.
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