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    Worldwide Chocolate Sales Defy Recession

    Research firm reports chocoholics rule in China and Ukraine; American consumption up too.

    CHICAGO -- Mintel, the international research firm based here, reports that chocolate sales around the world have busted through the recession.

    In China and the Ukraine -- two countries not necessarily recognized for their rampant chocoholic populations -- chocolate confectionery sales rose 18 percent and 12 percent, respectively, this year. Each country has seen steady sales increases since 2005 and Mintel predicts continued growth through 2013.

    Other countries have also seen chocolate bars, bags and boxes flying off the shelves, albeit at lower rates. Brits drove their chocolate market up 5.9 percent this year, while Americans purchased 2.6 percent more chocolate than in 2008. Argentinean sales rose 1.8 percent from 2008, while in Belgium, a country noted for producing some of the world's best chocolate, sales increased 3.2 percent.

    "It's clear that despite economic trouble this year, the world's chocolate lovers didn't deviate from their favorite treat. Chocolate is a small, affordable indulgence for shoppers who are cutting back on spending elsewhere. Even in countries not known for chocolate consumption, sales are on the rise," commented Marcia Mogelonsky, global food and drink analyst at Mintel.

    The Swiss flash the most cash for chocolate, forking over the equivalent of U.S. $206 per person per year. Brits and Belgians follow, spending U.S. $106 and $90, respectively, to satisfy their chocolate cravings. In the U.S., individuals spend just $55 each, while Argentineans devote an average of U.S. $35 per year on chocolate confectionery.
    Manufacturers are determined to keep consumers melting over new chocolate varieties. Despite worldwide economic troubles, Mintel's Global New Products Database (GNPD) reports that manufacturers launched nearly the same number of chocolate products this year as in 2008. In Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, companies have already released more new products than last year.

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