Manufacturers must adapt to these ‘hybrid’ consumers by introducing packaging and portion size formats to match their needs, said the Netherlands-based financial group. As a consequence, restructuring, range reduction and consolidation within the sector would be inevitable, it added.
The European confectionery market as a whole was worth more than £24bn at the end of 2013 and had grown by about 2.3% a year since 2008, claimed Rabobank. The UK, Germany, France and Italy held the largest share (70%) of Europe’s chocolate confectionery market in 2013, with the fastest-growing market being Turkey, it added.
Shoppers were demonstrating ‘hybrid’ behaviour by trading down on basics, thus saving money for luxuries, said Rabobank analyst Marc Kennis. This was squeezing the mid-market, which had been losing share since 2008, he added. “An important question for industry players will be how they can capitalise on the hybrid opportunity,” said Kennis.
“Retailers are actively pushing premium [own-label] chocolate offerings. There is a clear opportunity at the top end of the market for both premium brands and [own-label] chocolate.”
Younger consumers also offered sales potential, claimed Kennis, who advised firms to target using careful positioning and social media.