Easter: are chocolates (much) more expensive this year?

Chocolate is not immune to the context of double-digit inflation in the food sector. So, will it be much more expensive this year?

Good news for egg hunters: the Easter weekend, which has already started in Alsace and Moselle, promises to be sunny… But chocolate is not immune to the context of double-digit inflation in the food sector. So, will it be much more expensive this year? Interview with Gilles Rouvière, secretary general of the chocolate syndicate (1).

Will chocolate be more expensive this year?

Indeed, prices will register slight increases. All production costs for the chocolate maker have risen sharply over the past two years, whether for agricultural raw materials, packaging, transport or energy. Obviously in today’s inflationary environment, the increases are quite widespread, and large enough that a company cannot cushion and absorb them entirely.

Of how many ?

The price increase is specific to each company, depending on the commercial strategy and the result of the negotiation with the distributors. It varies from actor to actor. However, there is a rather interesting indicator: if you compare December 2022 with December 2021, the dates on which Easter chocolates were traded (2), the prices of all consumer products, food and non- food, increased by an average of 12.6%. And chocolates, they only increased by 5.4% over the same period. So yes, there are price increases, but they still remain moderate and partly absorbed by the players in the sector.

So the chocolatiers had to reduce their margin?

Yes, the full cost has not been passed on to the price. This is why, despite the increase in food prices, we are confident enough that Easter chocolates will remain a moment of pleasure, comfort and accessible to all this year. For what ? Because there is a diversity of offer which is such that each family can find chocolate adapted to its budget. There is everything, whether in large and medium-sized stores or in shops.

What are the trends and novelties this year?

I can’t name brands because I’m speaking on behalf of the profession, but when you look at the shelves, you can see that the shelves and windows are well diversified. Alongside the classic casts of hens, rabbits, bells and eggs, you have more modern ones such as unicorns, superheroes… With always a progression of dark chocolate which develops well with children, traditionally marked chocolate with milk. It should be remembered that there is a special link between dark chocolate and the French, because 30% of our chocolate consumption is dark chocolate, where in Europe it is 5%. Note that the trend is also technology: several brands are setting up virtual egg hunts this year.

Is the bestseller still the surprise egg or the garnished hen?

Above all, products for children are popular: they represent 75% of sales volumes at Easter. The traditional casts – hens, rabbits, bells and eggs – remain the bestsellers for the moment, but I can tell you that the diversity of the offer is growing from one year to the next.

Is there “good chocolate” at a very low price?

“Good chocolate” is a rather subjective notion! If we go back to the cocoa bean, which comes mainly from Ivory Coast and Ghana for the French market, the origin of chocolate is generally the same in all products. We can’t say that there is good chocolate at such a price and less good at a lower price, it doesn’t really make sense. Chocolate is a very diverse product, with different types of chocolate. Dark, milk, white, in figurines or in bars, it all depends on your expectations, on what you are looking for. If you want a very elaborate molding in a shop, you are going to pay more, if you want a standard product of greater consumption, you are going to pay less, but the chocolate inside as such will not be better or less good. What is certain is that if you like very powerful chocolate, bordering on bitterness, you will choose it with a high percentage of cocoa.

Classics and some novelties

What are the novelties and the essentials that you can find this year on the shelves of supermarkets to celebrate Easter?

At Kinder, we are betting on a unique treasure hunt with a box containing a selection of chocolates (including the famous Kinder bueno eggs) and a map to start looking for eggs with the family (€7.99). The brand is also innovating with a kit for floristsbudding thanks to a kit to grow pretty colorful Chinese Aster flowers while enjoying small Kinder as fried food (€7.99). The molds are still diversifying (special mention for the hen, €4.80) and are available for some (rabbit and maxi surprise egg) in the “Dark & Mild” recipe with a dark chocolate shell and a milk interior.

For its part, Ferrero highlights the sharing with the return of its large rock in two versions, dark chocolate or hazelnut milk (€6.10), reissued for the Easter holidays, while its Delacre brand is launching a spring collection made up of biscuits (sometimes in the shape of eggs!) mostly coated with chocolate (€9.99 the metal box).

Like last year, Nestlé has chosen to adapt its best-sellers into small “rabbit” moulds: KitKat, Galak, Nestlé, Smarties, Crunch… Around €2.80 for an 85 g confectionery. Lindt also remains classic with its famous “Gold Rabbit” and its famous bell (€24.99 for the 500 g model) while Milka is offering a limited edition of its milk chocolate rabbit mold from the Alpine region (€2.30 € the 90 g model).

The Cémoi house sells several “Méga t’œufs” sachets filled with fifty (€7.99) or eighty (€12.99) chocolate candies in milk, dark, tender or crispy. Something to please all foodies!

When is the best time to buy?

40% of sales in supermarkets and supermarkets are made during the last week of Easter, that is to say at the moment. But Easter chocolates have been available on shelves or in stores for several weeks, because consumers want to enjoy them in advance, and for as long as possible, and not just a week. Easter, over a year of chocolates, represents 8% of sales, behind Christmas, which is at 21%. These are the two highlights of the year, which represent nearly 30% of sales. The rest of the year, it’s tablets, spreads, etc. who make the sales.

Besides, the sales of tablets and spreads are now almost equivalent, right?

Yes, there was a big change in sales of spreads during the Covid, it was a big boost, families having breakfast and snacks at home. Three types of chocolate products experienced strong growth during the various confinements: bars, spreads and cooking, that is to say everything used to make cakes.

And are spreads still on the rise?

No, they have since fallen, but it should be noted that this market remains attractive for a lot of companies. There’s a fairly dominant brand, but the industry is attracting competitors, which makes sense in high-growth categories. This creates a diversity of offers that there was not before. In the tablet department, it has been very diverse for a long time. Today, spreads seem to be gaining the same momentum.

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