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    Chocolate's Dark Side Triumphs

    Demand for dark chocolate growing globally.

    Fuelled by a combination of health concerns and changing tastes, dark chocolate has become one of the most rapidly growing sectors in the confectionery market in the last year, according to a report by Confectionery News.

    According to market researchers Leatherhead International, dark chocolate is set to be one of the prime growth areas in the market and has already enjoyed rising sales across Europe.

    In their report, Global Confectionery 2006, the company stated: “There has been an increase in sales of dark chocolate in some parts of the world, with more consumers becoming aware of the link between cocoa and heart health.”

    Although still accounting for only 19 percent of worldwide sales last year in comparison to the 74 percent enjoyed by milk and filled varieties, demand for dark chocolate is growing and many global confectioners have been launching new products to target the craze, Confectionery News reported.

    More than 600 new products containing dark choclate were launched worldwide last year, according to Mintel’s Global New Product Database.

    In Italy, the Ferrero company brought out a new variety of its flagship product – Ferrero Rocher – called ‘Rondnoir’ which is coated in dark chocolate and marketed as a luxury product. Nestlé’s Bulgarian division launched Nestle Noir, Nestle Intense and LZ, all of which are dark chocolate products.

    Hershey is currently dominating the sector with a number of high-profile acquisitions last year. The company took over Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker and has since launched a variety of dark chocolate and exotic fruit products. The company now owns 77 percent of the dark chocolate market, according to Confectionery News.

    In Germany, dark chocolate accounts for 10 percent of the chocolate market, while in France domestic production of the product is marginally higher than the milk variety. In Canada, consumption grew by 40 percent in 2005, compared with a growth of 30 percent in the United States.

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