Cargill’s latest ChocoLogic survey has unveiled that one in three shoppers have increased their chocolate consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ChocoLogic survey looks at US consumers’ preferences, consumption habits and motivations for enjoying chocolate food and beverages. Conducted in February 2021, the survey gathered responses from more than 600 primary US grocery shoppers.

According to the research, for most of these consumers, chocolate flavours are their go-to choice. Whereas, in the food and beverage categories, respondents admitted to choosing chocolate-flavoured options at least half of the time.

The research also highlights that nearly all Americans indulge in a chocolate-flavoured treat every day.

Gretchen Hadden, Marketing Lead for Cargill’s North American cocoa and chocolate business, commented: “The adage that ‘everyone loves chocolate’ really is true – less than 3% of consumers report avoiding chocolate.

“However, while chocolate may be the world’s most beloved ingredient, our research suggests consumers have strong opinions on what they like – and don’t like – about this timeless indulgence.”

Cargill’s survey also found that three in four consumers view chocolate as a reward. Seven in 10 (72%) agree that chocolate lifts their mood and 59% say it boosts their energy.

In addition, more than half (52%) of Americans find chocolate gets them through a tough day.

According to the global cocoa and chocolate company, these perceptions, combined with more at-home snacking occasions, help explain why one in three shoppers report increasing chocolate consumption during the pandemic.

The health trend also continues as nearly seven in 10 respondents associate chocolate with health benefits, a characterisation even more prominent among consumers of dark chocolate.

For example, 52% of consumers admit to choosing dark chocolate because they believe “it’s healthier.”

The ChocoLogic survey also revealed that 45% of consumers are always looking for new types of chocolate, but when it comes to chocolate flavour pairings, classics still win out. Caramel and peanut butter topped the list, with 60% of consumers selecting them in their top three.

According to Cargill, the ChocoLogic survey not only explores consumer behaviour when it comes to chocolate, but also provides insight into product development.

Gretchen Hadden added: “The insights gleaned from this research give us – and our customers – a window into consumers’ attitudes and evolving expectations around this much-loved ingredient.

“It can help guide our thinking on whether to revitalise tried-and-true products or adapt to changing tastes with new-to-the-world innovations and is one more example of the added value we offer our customers.”