KANSAS CITY, MO -- A new survey from Cargill reaffirms chocolate’s near-universal appeal. The company’s ChocoLogic research reveals consumers’ preferences, motivations and attitudes toward the decadent ingredient, which they view as a reward, mood lifter, energy booster and the secret to surviving a tough day.

Conducted in February 2021, the survey gathered responses from more than 600 primary US grocery shoppers, finding that chocolate flavors are their go-to choice. Across the food and beverage categories included in the survey, respondents admit they choose chocolate-flavored options at least half the time.

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

Some of the survey’s top findings include:

  • Three in four view chocolate as a way to reward oneself
  • Seven in ten (72%) agree that chocolate lifts their mood, while 59% say it boosts their energy
  • More than half (52%) of Americans find chocolate gets them through a tough day
  • Nearly seven in ten associate chocolate with health benefits
  • 52% of consumers choose dark chocolate it because they believe “it’s healthier”
  • 71% notice when chocolate has a grainy, coarse texture
  • Nearly one in four shoppers perceive chocolate that denotes its cocoa bean origin country as higher quality
  • The most sought claim across all categories was “made with real chocolate,” a factor 84% of shoppers said they were extremely or very likely to consider in their purchase decisions
  • 45% of consumers are always looking for new types of chocolate, when it comes to chocolate flavor pairings
  • 60% of consumers select caramel and peanut butter pairings in their top three

In addition to exploring consumer purchasing considerations and preferences within specific food and beverage categories, the survey’s demographic data adds a valuable layer for Cargill’s customers as they think about creating the perfect chocolatey product to appeal to their end consumer.

“The insights gleaned from this research give us – and our customers – a window into consumers’ attitudes and evolving expectations around this much-loved ingredient,” says Hadden. “It can help guide our thinking on whether to revitalize 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.”