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RISMEDIA, August 14, 2007—Directly on the heels of Campbell’s announcement of a possible sale of lux chocolatier Godiva, consumer research firm Packaged Facts has released The U.S. Market for Chocolate report, showing a mature market although still primed for growth from $16 billion in 2006 to $18 billion in 2011.

The report finds that strong consumer interest in the reported health benefits of dark chocolate and a general trend towards product premiumization (including organic and fair trade products) are the main drivers in current market growth. The market share for premium chocolate escalated from 13% of the total market in 2002 to nearly 17% in 2006.

Packaged Facts estimates that premium chocolate sales will continue to expand, commanding 25% of the market by 2011 and generating $4.5 billion in sales.

For much of the chocolate industry, market gains were achieved through price increases rather than increased unit sales in 2006. While the higher- priced premium trend has certainly stimulated the market, it has also been responsible for staving off steady declines in other categories, such as sugar-free/diet, gift and novelty products segments, each of which saw unit sales sag by significant percentages during 2006.

“Even in categories such as gift box chocolates which saw a notable decline in the last year, brands such as Ghirardelli and Lindt that are targeting a more hip and upscale clientele are seeing tremendous success,” notes Tatjana Meerman, the publisher of Packaged Facts. “We expect that the trend towards high-end products, especially those touting wellness benefits, will be the life force in this market for the next several years.”

Authored by confectionary industry specialist C. Curtis Vreeland, The U.S. Market for Chocolate provides a comprehensive look at the market for every day chocolate as well as snack sized, gift box, novelty, seasonal and diet (sugar free) chocolate. The report examines new product trends, offers competitive profiles of industry leaders, provides an extensive analysis on supply issues, and looks at consumer trends and behaviors surrounding chocolate.

The report is available from Packaged Facts by visiting: