Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to gain better insights into the conventional and organic/fair trade (O and/or FT) future chocolate market in four EU countries: Italy, the UK, France and Germany. Design/methodology/approach – Delphi method was used to investigate several characteristics, actors and marketing mix components which will drive the conventional and organic/fair trade chocolate market in the future by presenting two rounds of questionnaires to experts of the chocolate market. Findings – The findings identify the most influential actors, product attributes, promotion and distribution channels and characteristics of the chocolate market in both sectors. They reveal that they will have more of a positive effect on the O and/or FT sector than on the conventional one, since the first will grow faster than the second. Research limitations/implications – Despite low expert participation, participants belong to some of the most important companies/organisations in the sector in terms of market share. Practical implications – The paper has important implications for stakeholders in the cocoa‐chocolate chain in terms of developing their business strategies in the future; they will need to concentrate upon consumer preferences and marketing mix elements which will have more appeal. Originality/value – The value of the paper lies in joining together opinions of experts coming from different chain levels (industry, research and consultancy) in an attempt to forecast the chocolate market characteristics and the consumer behaviour of the future.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 4, 2008
Keywords: Chocolate; Organic foods; Fair trade; Consumer behaviour; Economic growth