Penetration of Functional Labeling into Cocoa is increasing. New concept to increase category sales growth.  

In 2022, the sales of functional food instant cocoa surged more than ninefold from the previous year, reaching 370 million yen. By 2023, this figure had more than doubled again, hitting 830 million yen. Within this category, the market share of functional food products increased dramatically from 0.4% in 2021 to 3.4% in 2022, and then to 7.4%.

The success of this segment is attributed to the acceptance of the health benefits of functional food products by consumers. Products claiming to have digestive health benefits have been particularly popular, with increased interest in immune system enhancement during the COVID-19 pandemic and the spread of colds and influenza further driving demand.

Kataoka Corporation’s “Van Houten Intestinal Activity Cocoa” has been a pioneer in the functional food cocoa category, leading its rapid expansion. This product claims to improve intestinal flora and regulate stomach health, with its functionality and the simplicity of its ingredients (pure cocoa, sugar, and inulin) being key factors in its popularity.

This trend has been embraced by women of a wide age range, from their 20s to their 70s, including those who had never consumed cocoa before. The trial of “Intestinal Activity Cocoa” has led to repeat purchases and increased sales within the Van Houten brand, contributing to the overall vitality of the brand.

Morinaga & Co.’s “The Power of Cacao” has also maintained strong performance in the functional food market. This product, which claims to improve peripheral blood flow and warm the surface of the hands (blood flow improvement) and regulate bowel movements for those concerned about constipation (digestive health), has been especially popular among women over 50 who are health-conscious. Kataoka Corporation also offers “Van Houten’s Good Sleep Cocoa,” expanding its range of functional cocoa products.

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