With consumption growth of about 1.2% per year in volume terms in the period 1994-99, the EU confectionery and biscuits market is highly saturated. Per capita consumption grew less than 1% annually in the same period. Production growth was even lower at 0.7% per year.

Total EU imports increased by almost 7% annually, exports by 3.7%. This means that intra-EU trade of confectionery has expanded significantly in recent years. At the same time, imports from outside of the EU have grown at a much higher rate than exports from the EU.

These are the most important conclusions to be drawn from the Statistical Review of the Chocolate, Sugar Confectionery and Biscuits Industries in Europe (1999) recently published by Caobisco, the European federation of confectionery and biscuit producers. The Statistical Review is the best publicly available database on the European confectionery and biscuits industry, containing production, consumption, import and export figures for the period 1994-99 for all EU countries plus Norway and Switzerland. Separate data on the various product segments (e.g. chewing gum) within the major product categories are included. The Caobisco Statistical Review is published in conjunction with the IOCCC International Statistical Review of the Cocoa, Chocolate and Sugar Confectionery Industries, which includes key figures on Australia, Brazil, Japan and the USA in addition to Europe.

Volume growth

Within the overall confectionery and biscuits market three major product categories can be distinguished:

  • sugar confectionery (e.g. chewing gum, boiled sweets, toffees, caramels, gums, jellies, lollies)
  • chocolate confectionery (tablets, bars, candybars, pralines and the like)
  • biscuits and other baked goods (e.g. sweet biscuits, wafers, crispbreads, rusks, cakes, savoury biscuits, extruded snacks)

The sugar confectionery category showed the highest volume growth in 1999, with consumption up 4.2%. Consumption of chocolate confectionery rose only 0.9%, consumption of biscuits and baked goods was down by 0.3%. However, for the period 1994-99 the picture is reversed, with sugar confectionery consumption growing only 1.4%, consumption of chocolate confectionery up 8% and consumption of biscuits and baked goods up 6.6%. Indeed, consumption per capita of sugar confectionery has shown no growth at all in volume terms for 1994-99 and production has even declined. (See table 1.) However, much of the stagnating consumption trend is due to a single market, Germany. In virtually all other countries sugar confectionery consumption was up. (See also table 2, below.)

Table 1
     
Volume growth of EU biscuits and confectionery market (in %)
     
 
98/99
94/99
Sugar Confectionery
 
 
 
 
 
Production
+2.1
-2.7
Consumption
+4.2
+1.4
Consumption per capita
+4.0
+0.1
Imports
+9.2
+26.3
Exports
+1.8
+4.9
 
 
 
Chocolate Confectionery
 
 
 
 
 
Production
-2.8
+1.4
Consumption
+0.9
+8.0
Consumption per capita
+0.7
+6.6
Imports
-0.3
+20.1
Exports
-8.8
+0.5
 
 
 
Biscuits and other baked goods
 
 
 
 
 
Production
-0.8
+6.2
Consumption
-0.3
+6.6
Consumption per capita
-0.4
+5.2
Imports
+2.0
+42.7
Exports
-0.5
+30.4

Sugar confectionery production

The largest producer of sugar confectionery in the EU is Germany. In 1999 the Germans produced more than 26% of the 1,690,470 metric tons of sugar confectionery manufactured in the EU. However, despite a production increase in 1999, the Germans are still far removed from their 1994 production level of 537,720 tons, when they had a volume share of 31%. The second largest producer is the UK, with a share of 19.4%. UK production of sugar confectionery declined by 3.8% in 1994-99. France and Spain are in third and fourth place with a share of 11.5% each, followed by the Netherlands (8.1%). Over the last five years (1994-99), Finland, Norway and Spain showed the highest growth figures, Ireland, Germany, Denmark and Greece the largest declines.

Chocolate confectionery production

Germany accounts for an even higher volume market share in chocolate production. The Germans produced a full third of the 2,620,695 metric tons of chocolate confectionery made in the EU in 1999. They were trailed by the UK (18.6%), France (14.3%), Italy (7.9%) and the Netherlands (7%). Belgium and Switzerland, the two countries most famous for their chocolate, produce less in volume terms than the Netherlands. Norway, Italy and Austria recorded the highest growth rates for 1994-99, the UK one of the largest declines.

Biscuits and baked goods production

The Caobisco data would seem to show that the UK is by far the largest producing country of biscuits and baked goods, accounting for 1,938,360 tons (33.2%) of the EU total of 5,828,640 tons. Italy (14.7%) and France (13%) are numbers two and three, Germany number four with a volume share of only 12.4%. However, the UK figure includes more than 1 million tons of cakes and pastries, in which category the Germans account for a mere 6,500 tons. Obviously, such differences must be the result of differences in classification. In general, biscuits and baked goods is the most complex category for classification purposes and country-by-country comparisons should be made with care. What is clear is that the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark and Finland recorded production declines for 1994-99, and Austria, Spain, France, Italy, Ireland and Switzerland considerable production increases.

Per capita consumption

A new fact to emerge from the Caobisco Statistical Review is the high per capita consumption of sugar confectionery in Sweden (9.23 kg). The figure for Sweden now includes 'candy sold by weight' (i.e. unpackaged self-service candy, highly popular in Swedish supermarkets), which had not been included before, making the Swedes the number one sugar confectionery consumers of Europe. The Danes are relegated to second place (8.99 kg). (See table 2.) Remarkably, Spanish people consume very little sugar confectionery in relation to the high sugar confectionery production in that country. The two largest sugar Spanish confectionery producers, Chupa Chups and Joyco, are very export-oriented.

Consumption patterns of chocolate confectionery tend to be quite different from those in the sugar confectionery market. The German and English speaking countries are high consumers of chocolate, whereas in the North European countries and the Netherlands sugar confectionery tends to be favourite. Dutch and Italian chocolate consumption is rather low in relation to the high production figures in these two countries. (See table 3.)

The high per capita consumption of biscuits and baked goods in the UK is most likely in part a statistical artefact. UK consumption of biscuits and baked goods per capita went down, with consumption of cakes and pastries in particular declining by 5.56% in the period 1994-99, which may indicate a shift away from traditional eating habits. (See table 4.)

Table 2
     
Sugar confectionery consumption per capita in kg
     
 
1999
94/99
 
 
 
Sweden
9.23
n.a.
Denmark
8.99
+15.9%
Netherlands
6.41
+2.3%
Ireland
6.34
+8.4%
Finland
6.09
+31.8%
UK
5.08
+0.8%
Germany
5.07
-16.1%
Norway
4.93
+14.6%
Belgium
3.78
+9.9%
France
3.45
+5%
Austria
3.34
+11%
Switzerland
3.17
+9%
Spain
3.06
-1.7%
Italy
2.27
+4.5%
Greece
2.02
-4.9%
Poland
1.08
n.a.
     
Table 3
 
Chocolate confectionery consumption per capita in kg
 
 
1999
94/99
 
 
 
Switzerland
10.48
+3.6%
Germany
10.00
+16%
Austria
9.33
+18.2%
Ireland
8.53
-0.2%
Norway
8.50
+4.3%
UK
8.44
+2.7%
Belgium
8.25
n.a.
Denmark
8.11
+4.8%
France
6.98
+7.6%
Sweden
5.40
+4,4%
Netherlands
4.69
+7,0%
Finland
4.17
+14.7%
Spain
3.48
-9.9%
Italy
3.28
+7.1%
Greece
2.85
-6.1%
Poland
1.55
+9.5%
 
Table 4
     
Biscuits and baked goods consumption per capita in kg
     
 
1999
94/99
 
 
 
UK
31.86
-3.9%
Netherlands
18.50
-0.6%
Finland
16.56
+9.9%
France
14.13
+10.4%
Ireland
13.23
-1.1%
Denmark
12.85
+31.5%
Italy
12.36
+3.8%
Spain
10.69
+13.6%
Sweden
10.12
+3.7%
Belgium
9.67
n.a.
Switzerland
9.06
+19.7%
Germany
8.92
n.a.
Austria
7.92
+36.6%
Poland
6.30
+52.7%
Greece
4.88
-7.3%
Norway
n.a.
n.a.

Value

It would be interesting to know how the EU confectionery and biscuits market fared in value terms as compared to volume terms, but unfortunately the Caobisco Statistical Review contains no trend data on the value of the market and only aggregate turnover for 1999 for the various national confectionery and biscuits markets. The overall EU confectionery and biscuits market was estimated to be worth €39bn in 1999. The industry is comprised of 1,713 production companies employing 254,230 people.

Information

The Caobisco Statistical Review of the Chocolate, Sugar Confectionery and Biscuits Industries in Europe is published annually in conjunction with the IOCCC International Statistical Review of the Cocoa, Chocolate and Sugar Confectionery Industries in Europe, USA, Australia, Japan and Brazil. The IOCCC is the world federation of confectionery and biscuit producers, in which Caobisco represents Europe. The bi-lingual (English/French) Reviews contain the most authoritative data available on the production, consumption, import and export of all categories of cocoa, chocolate and sugar confectionery as well as biscuits (Europe only). Data are specified by country and by product segment. The 1999 Reviews (including CD-rom) cost BF 5,000 (EUR 125.00) and can be ordered from Caobisco, 1 rue Defacqz, B-1000 Bruxelles, telephone 00-32-2-539.1800, fax 00-32-2-539.1575, caobisco@caobisco.be.

Karel Beckman, just-food.com correspondent