Russia’s Appetite for Chocolate Fuels Global Cocoa Demand

One of the world’s largest cocoa producers and grinders, Switzerland’s Barry Callebaut, has said that Russia’s fast-growing appetite for chocolate is helping to boost global cocoa demand, RIA news agency reported.

The Zurich-based processor said chocolate consumption in the world’s second-biggest market for the confectionery expanded by almost four times the global rate in the nine months to the end of April. That comes as robust demand is expected to push the cocoa market move into a slight deficit after two years of oversupply, the report said.

While Russia has long been the number two chocolate market after the U.S., demand started to pick up in 2017 after the rouble stabilized. That stopped the increase in retail prices and allowed consumers to resume buying more expensive foods or treats, said Elizaveta Nikitina, executive director of the Confectionery Market Research Center in Moscow.

“We expect the chocolate market to continue to grow in Russia,” Massimo Garavaglia, Barry Callebaut’s president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in an interview with Bloomberg. “This is definitely increasing the demand for cocoa beans in the world.”

In Russia, much like the rest of the world, producers are expanding the use of chocolate flavor in pastry, ice cream and dairy products, Garavaglia said. In a bid to make chocolate bars more appealing, companies including Nestle are turning to new flavors or gimmicks to attract consumers who are increasingly shunning sugary products for healthier treats.