Summary of our market study

The French chocolate market includes sales of chocolate in supermarkets, estimated at €3.5 billion, and sales of high-end chocolates by chocolatiers and bakeries.

The global chocolate market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.53% between 2023 and 2028, with a projected value of $117.9 billion.

Cocoa production is highly dependent on climate. Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana together produce over 60% of the world's supply.

Western European countries mainly consume processed cocoa.

France's trade balance is heavily negative, by almost a billion euros. Germany, the Netherlands and Poland are the main exporters of chocolate bars to France.

Chocolate sales in French supermarkets are set to decline in 2022, falling by 2.3% in value and 4% in volume, after a notable 10% growth in 2020.

The industry is observing a shift towards high-end, personalized and healthier products.

The French prefer dark and milk chocolates, and consumption is high during the Christmas and Easter holidays.

Trends in the French chocolate market

Chocolate sales are expected to grow by around 11% in 2020. In 2022 supermarkets observed a drop of around 2% in chocolate sales, but the French chocolate and confectionery manufacturing market grew by 6.81% in 2022 due to general price increases.

The market is made up of a few major global players and a multitude of artisanal chocolatiers.

The overall size of the chocolate and confectionery manufacturing market grew by almost 7%, to nearly €7 billion.

The market is dominated by multinationals such as Nestlé and Lindt. Numerous local craftsmen and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) also support the market.

Chocolatiers develop chocolate products that are more upscale, personalized and healthy than those of private labels and major manufacturers.

The sector's trade balance is negative by around €1 billion. Imports into France come from European countries.

Sales in food superstores have risen from €3 billion in 2018 to over €3.3 billion in 2021.

Almost half the population consumes chocolate products every week, and around a third every day. Chocolate bars account for the lion's share of supermarket sales, and chocolate spreads are also remarkably popular.

Key players in the French chocolate market

  • Lindt & Sprüngli: a prestigious brand
  • Ferrero: with the Kinder and Ferrero Rocher brands.
  • Cémoi: For over a century, Cémoi has perpetuated the traditions of French chocolatiers.
  • Poulain
  • Mondelez
  • Groupe Barry Callebaut: plays an essential role in the industry's supply chain, providing high-quality ingredients to manufacturers
  • Léonidas
  • La Maison du Chocolat
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of study

French supermarket sales of chocolate are expected to fall by 2.3% in 2022 in value and 4% in volume terms, following 10% growth in 2020. The French chocolate and confectionery manufacturing market grew by 6.82%, this growth being driven by general price increases despite a loss of sales volume

In 2022, chocolatiers faced a tricky year, characterized by inflationary surges,purchasing power issues and health scandals, which created significant challenges for the industry. In 2023, many challenges remain, including record inflation in the food sector, which should lead to more difficult choices for consumers, impacting consumer trends at market research. In addition, energy and wage costs are rising significantly, requiring a reassessment of pricing strategies and targeted market segments.

At the same time, cocoa prices are trending upwards, affecting the competitiveness of chocolate products on the world market, and this must be taken into account in supply chain analyses.

However, despite these challenges, chocolatiers continue to invest in expanding their production capacities, reflecting their confidence in growth prospects, and underlining the importance of market research in identifying opportunities. It also appears that companies are beginning to adapt their growth strategies to new market conditions, integrating research data to better target their markets and customer segments.

Overall, manufacturing is still particularly concentrated in the hands of large multinationals such as Nestlé and Lindt. However, many French craftsmen and SMEs still manage to keep traditional French products alive.

In response, the market is developing premium products, which are more personalized and healthier, creating a differentiating factor in relation to private label and multinational products.

The sector's trade balance improved by almost 9% in 2022, thanks to a drop in imports linked to lower French consumption of chocolate. However, the trade balance remains highly negative, at almost 1 billion euros.

1.2 Growing markets worldwide and in Europe

Cocoa bean production is very demanding, requiring a warm climate all year round, as well as high humidity accompanied by significant rainfall (***). These conditions are best found in tropical forests. This explains why cocoa is produced in so few different countries. Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana alone account for **% of the ...

1.3 A French market with solid fundamentals

The chocolate market grew from **** to ****, rising from *.*** billion euros to *.*** billion euros. This market size has been established using data on Grandes Surfaces Alimentaires (***).

In ****, with the loss of household purchasing power due to inflation, sales of chocolate in supermarkets fell by *.**%.

Size of the French chocolate market France, ****-****, ...

1.4 A market dependent on imports

The balance of trade in chocolate and chocolate products is particularly negative, with a coverage ratio of just **% in **** (***). This reflects the French market's heavy dependence on foreign imports, particularly in the chocolate bonbon and chocolate bar segments. [***]

exports of chocolate and other food preparations containing cocoa fell by *.**% in **** Exports ...

1.5 The positive effects of Covid-19 on the chocolate market

Sales in these three categories during the containment period France, April * to May *, ****, in % Source: ****

The health crisis and confinements have boosted sales of chocolate products. Indeed, the French looked for several ways to relax during the lockdown, and chocolate was one of them. Over the period April * to May *, ****, chocolate ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Regular chocolate consumption

Sales by chocolate segment France, ****, € billion Source: ****

In ****, chocolate bars will account for the largest share of sales, with **.*% of tons sold in supermarkets. This dominance underlines French consumers' strong demand for chocolate bars, which can be attributed to their popularity as an everyday consumer product. Spreads are also very popular ...

2.2 France's favorite chocolates

The French say they prefer some forms of chocolate more than others. Chocolate bars are enjoyed by almost */* of French **-year-olds. Fondants, moelleux and pains au chocolat are appreciated by over **% of the population. [***]

It is important to note that preferences change significantly with age. While bars are enjoyed by only ...

2.3 Chocolate and the holidays

An important aspect of chocolate is its high consumption during the festive season (***). The first two holidays alone account for **.*% of chocolate consumption over the year. [***]

In fact, **% of French people say they couldn't do without chocolate during the festive season (***). [***]

Breakdown of chocolate consumption by time of year France, ****, in Source: ...

2.4 Towards healthier food consumption

CHD-Expert has carried out a study on trends in French food consumption. [***] It identified several trends at work:

The Vegan trend, which is lived as a philosophy of life, concerns only *% of French people. The more general healthy trend, which concerns more and more French people. Consuming healthy food is becoming ...

2.5 France's favorite chocolate shops and bars

France's favorite chocolate makers:

The chart below is based on OpinionWay's survey of French consumers' favorite chocolate brands in February ****. These are the respondents' answers to the question "Do you like such and such a chocolate shop?" for each brand, with the percentage corresponding to the proportion of respondents who answered ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Value chain

Source: ****

Producers of finished products such as Mars, Nestlé, Lindt and Sprüngli source their raw materials (***) or caterers.

There are also producers of semi-finished products who, after obtaining supplies from raw material producers, produce couverture chocolate, cocoa powder, cocoa butter and cocoa paste. These products are then sold to certain ...

3.2 Number of companies and number of employees

Companies in the sector

The number of companies making chocolate products continues to rise, from nearly *** in **** to **** in ****. [***]

Growth in the number of chocolate and chocolate-related companies France, ****-****, in units Source: ****

The number of employees in companies manufacturing chocolate products will increase by only *% between **** and ****, reaching **,*** employees.

Number ...

3.3 Chocolate distribution

Breakdown of chocolate manufacturer sales by type of customer France, ****, % sales Source: ****

End consumers are the customers to whom finished products will be sold, while semi-finished products will be sold to industrial and professional customers. The majority of chocolate sales, **.*%, were destined for end consumers, whether on the French domestic market ...

3.4 A relatively concentrated market

An overview of the market

It is possible to distinguish * types of manufacturers on the chocolate and chocolate factory market in France. [***]

Number of companies by size and number of employees France, ****, in % Source: ****

The main players are foreign multinationals (***), which have processing plants in France and abroad, and export their ...

3.5 Strategic changes altering the market landscape

French company Cémoi to be acquired by Belgian group Sweet Products in July **** :

Belgian company Sweet Products has acquired French chocolate leader Cémoi in July ****, following exclusive negotiations which began in May of that year. The acquisition aims to create a major confectionery player in Europe, with combined sales ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 A wide range of products

An initial distinction between cocoa and chocolate products can be made according to the type of chocolate used to make them. The most common types of chocolate are dark and milk. They differ from each other in their cocoa, cocoa butter, milk and sugar content.

Source: ****

Secondly, these types of chocolate ...

4.2 Prices rising sharply in 2022 and 2023

Price index for sugar, jam, chocolate and ice cream France, ****-****, base *** in **** Source: ****

Prices for sugar, jam, chocolate and ice cream have risen very little between **** and **** (***). [***]. However, in **** and ****, with inflation in France and rising energy costs, prices for sugar, jam, chocolate and ice cream will rise by *.*% in ...

4.3 The premiumization of chocolate

Cocoa and chocolate manufacturers are undergoing a number of changes, notably with the development of organic products and premiumization.

The organic trend

Today, **% of French people consider the "organic" label to be important for chocolate (***). This contrasts with stagnant or even declining sales in the sector. [***]

As a result, organic today ...

4.4 A variety of suppliers

The French chocolate and chocolate-maker market is characterized by a diversified offering thanks to a variety of players, including big names in the industry, renowned SMEs, chains with convenience stores and artisan chocolatiers. This variety of players creates a dynamic and competitive ecosystem, offering consumers a vast choice of products, from ...

5 Regulations

5.1 Regulations for cocoa and chocolate products

Cocoa and chocolate products are subject to the regulations set out in European Directive ****/**/EC, which covers product composition and labeling. [***]

The regulations distinguish between * main product categories:

Cocoa Chocolate Chocolate sweets

The cocoa butter content of powdered cocoa is a minimum of **% for lean cocoa, **% for "sweet" cocoa and **% for ...

6 Positioning the players

6.1 Player segmentation

Artisanal chocolate makers are also an important segment of French chocolate production. Often run by a single person or a small team, these artisan chocolate makers are small, high-quality structures that do not aim for mass production.

  • Lindt & Sprungli
  • Jeff de Bruges
  • Mondelez
  • Le Chocolat des Français
  • Ferrero
  • Barry Callebaut
  • Leonidas
  • Cémoi (Sweet Products)
  • Chocolat Chapon
  • Pierre Marcolini Chocolatier
  • Cluizel Chocolatier
  • Savencia Fromage & Dairy groupe
  • Benoit Chocolat
  • Christophe Michalak
  • Maison du Chocolat
  • Valrhona (Savencia Fromage & Dairy)
  • Bello & Angeli
  • Le Comptoir de Mathilde
  • Chocolaterie Monbana (Buton Groupe)
  • Des Lis chocolat
  • Chocolatrie Janin
  • Cabosse & Associés (Chocolat Alain Ducasse)
  • Mathez Chocolat
  • Bonnat chocolatier
  • Chocmod
  • Côte d'Or Chocolat (Mondelez group)
  • Chocolatier Patrick Roger
  • Poulain - CPK Production (Carambar & co)
  • Weiss
  • Yves Thuries
  • GuyLian
  • Jadis et Gourmande
  • Jean-Paul Hévin
  • La Chocolaterie Cyril Lignac
  • La Maison Christophe Roussel
  • Suchard (Carambar & Co)
  • Pierre Hermé Groupe
  • Grain de Sail
  • Réauté Chocolat Production
  • Cargill France

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Countries' share of world cocoa production by volume
  • Market trends for chocolate and chocolate factories
  • 3 largest exporters of chocolate bars in Volume
  • French supermarket sales of chocolate
  • Volume of chocolate sold in French supermarkets
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Latest news

Grain de Sail christens its second transatlantic cargo sailboat in Saint-Malo - 31/01/2024
  • SME sales 2023: €10m
  • Growth rate: 18.5%
  • Volumes produced: 380 t of organic chocolate and 80 t of organic coffee
  • Volume growth: 20% -
  • Opening of second chocolate factory planned for 2025
Cargill invests 50 million euros and sets up R&D center in Loiret - 21/10/2023
  • 50 million euro investment in Saint-Cyr-en-Val plant
  • The plant produces Chicken McNuggets served in over 2,000 restaurants in France and 10 European countries
  • The plant has had a partnership with McDonald's since its creation in 1993
  • The plant employs 250 people
  • It supplies 70% of the breaded chicken fillets sold by McDonald's in France.
Monbana adapts its offers to mobile habits - 08/10/2023
  • Launch of a new range: September 1, 2023
  • Monbana belongs to the Buton group: Saveurs et Délices division Located in Ernée, in the Mayenne region of France
  • Monbana chocolate sales: approx. €40m
  • Growth: 15-20% (inflation and volume development)
  • Number of stores: 28 (including 14 directly-operated and 14 franchised)
Chocmod wants to impose its chocolate truffles on supermarkets - 31/07/2023
  • Sales 2022/2023: 52 million euros
  • Sales breakdown: 80% international
  • Annual production: 6,000 tons of truffles and 2,000 tons of marshmallows
  • Production sites: Roncq (Nord, France) and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (Canada)
  • Seasonal chocolate market: €700 million at Christmas, €400 million at Easter
  • The truffle segment is worth 6 M€ at Christmas
  • The company's primary market is the United States
  • 80% of sales at Christmas
  • 80% of sales are with truffles
  • 80% of sales are to supermarkets and hypermarkets (GMS)
  • This family-run SME is majority-owned by the Céréa fund, alongside Unigrains, Indigo and the management.
Chocolate demand rises with food inflation | Chocolate under pressure from food inflation - 21/07/2023
  • Sales of Barry Callebaut, a giant in cocoa processing, fell by 2.7% in the first nine months of its fiscal year.
  • In Europe, the world's leading chocolate-consuming region, cocoa grinding fell by 5.7% to 343,283 tonnes, the lowest level since the pandemic in 2020.
  • Barry Callebaut's sales rose by 3.6% to 6.3 billion Swiss francs.
  • This increase is attributed to higher cocoa and sugar prices.
Confectionery: Chocmod reinvests the French market - 27/06/2023
  • Chocmod is the world leader in the chocolate truffle niche.
  • The company produces 6,000 tonnes of chocolate truffles and 2,000 tonnes of marshmallows annually.
  • 85% of its 42 million euros in sales come from exports.
  • The chocolate market is divided between mass-market products (10 to 25 euros per kilo) and products from leading chocolate makers (over 150 euros per kilo).
  • Chocmod achieves 80% of its sales at Christmas and Easter.
  • The company is investing 1.2 million euros a year for three years in production facilities in France and Canada.
  • Chocmod expects to achieve sales of 52 million euros in 2022-2023, and is targeting 70 million euros in five years' time.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Lindt & Sprungli
Jeff de Bruges
Le Chocolat des Français
Barry Callebaut
Cémoi (Sweet Products)
Chocolat Chapon
Pierre Marcolini Chocolatier
Cluizel Chocolatier
Savencia Fromage & Dairy groupe

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