Nestlé has indicated its intention to enter the premium chocolate market with the launch of a swathe of upmarket products that are currently under development.

"There is a clear market for premium and super-premium chocolates in industrialised countries," a spokesperson for Nestlé's confectionery businesses told just-food today (18 April).

The high-end chocolate sector is the fastest-growing segment of the global confectionery market, with annual growth of 8%.

Although Nestlé is the second-largest chocolate company in the world, with 13% of chocolate sales, its premium offerings are few and far between. Currently, upmarket chocolates only account for only around 4% of Nestlé's total chocolate sales.

In an attempt to reverse this trend, Nestlé said that it is developing a number of premium and super-premium chocolates with Belgian master chocolatier Marcolini.

"We are working on the development of a number of premium and super-premium chocolates. These are the very top line of chocolates with artisan qualities," Nestlé said.

Nestlé said that it intended to launch these upmarket offerings in developed countries where consumers have greater spending power.

Nestlé's premium chocolates will become available throughout Europe, Asia and the US, the company told just-food.

However, Nestlé was unwilling to provide a timescale for the rollout. Nor would the group indicate what products it was intending to launch. "We prefer to surprise our competitors," Nestlé said.