Ask What Japan Thinks: Chocolate brands


Welcome to a new irregular feature, where I will try to answer queries from my mailbag (and other questions prompted by the buzz of 103bees).

This time, a reader named A.P. emailed to ask what brands of chocolate the Japanese like. Off the top of my head, regarding bar-type just chocolate products, Ghana would appear to be the number one brand name. Thinking about chocolate-based sweets, tops would have to be Pocky of course. For premuim brands, the local brand Royce, USA ones like See’s and Mary’s, and Belgium’s (well, manufactured under licence from Belgium) Godiva. There are also a number of smaller speciality chocolatiers dotted all around the country, whose products can sometimes be found in department store basement food courts.

There was a boom in bitter chocolate last year, but that was mostly spurred on by fakery from Hakkutsu! Aru-Aru Daijiten.

This year I translated a St Valentine’s Day survey that listed the top chocolate brands for both co-workers and lovers, which might be a starting point for finding out what Japan thinks. Tops for co-workers, favouring, perhaps, low-end premium brands were Morozoff, Royce and Godiva; for lovers, where taste may outweigh cost concerns, the ranking was Godiva, Royce and Pierre Marcolini.

Looking further around the web I discovered the following from Japan Consumer Marketing Research Institute:

Over the end of October and the start of November 2006 they interviewed 635 people from their online monitor group. 50.1% were female, and for both sexes roughly a third were in their twenties, a third in their thirties, and a third in their forties. This survey looked at brand awareness of both straight chocolate and chocolate-based sweets.

Research results

Q1: Which of the following brands do you know? (Sample size=635, multiple answer)

1Glico Pocky93.8%
2Morinaga Koeda93.0%
3Meiji Milk Chocolate92.4%
4Lotte Ghana88.5%
5Morinaga Chocoball88.1%
6Morinaga DARS87.8%
7Lotte Toppo87.5%
8Lotte Crunky84.2%
9Meiji Fran83.6%
10=Meiji Black Chocolate79.7%
10=Lotte Almond Chocolate79.7%
12Glico Almond Chocolate78.8%
13Morinaga Milk Chocolate77.8%
14Lotte Cacao no Megumi65.8%
15Meiji White Chocolate61.9%
16Meiji Strawberry Chocolate57.9%
17Meiji Chocolate Kouka57.7%
18Hersey’s Kisses Choco55.1%
19Glico Mental Balance Choco GABA49.1%
20Meiji Deluxe Chocolate36.5%

Q2: Which of the following brands have you ever tasted? (Sample size=635, multiple answer)

1Glico Pocky88.5%
2Morinaga Koeda85.6%
3Meiji Milk Chocolate81.9%
4Morinaga Chocoball81.6%
5Morinaga DARS76.1%
6Lotte Toppo75.0%
7Lotte Ghana73.9%
8Lotte Crunky68.5%
9Meiji Fran68.5%
10Glico Almond Chocolate66.6%
11Lotte Almond Chocolate66.3%
12=Meiji Black Chocolate61.5%
12=Morinaga Milk Chocolate61.5%
14Hersey’s Kisses Choco44.6%
15Meiji Strawberry Chocolate42.4%
16Meiji White Chocolate42.1%
17Lotte Cacao no Megumi39.6%
18Meiji Chocolate Kouka37.6%
19Glico Mental Balance Choco GABA29.6%
20Meiji Deluxe Chocolate20.9%

Q3: Which of the following brands have you eaten within the last three months? (Sample size=635, multiple answer)

1Glico Pocky33.1%
2Morinaga DARS29.3%
3Morinaga Koeda27.9%
4Lotte Toppo25.1%
5Meiji Fran23.6%
6Meiji Milk Chocolate23.2%
7Meiji Chocolate Kouka19.0%
8Morinaga Chocoball18.6%
9Lotte Crunky18.3%
10Meiji Black Chocolate17.2%
11Lotte Ghana15.6%
12Glico Almond Chocolate15.4%
13Lotte Almond Chocolate15.3%
14Morinaga Milk Chocolate14.0%
15Lotte Cacao no Megumi12.5%
16Glico Mental Balance Choco GABA12.2%
17Meiji Strawberry Chocolate8.7%
18Meiji White Chocolate7.8%
19Hersey’s Kisses Choco5.3%
20Meiji Choco Life4.8%

Q4: Which of the following brands have come up in conversation within the last three months? (Sample size=635, multiple answer)

1Glico Pocky12.2%
2Meiji Chocolate Kouka10.1%
3Meiji Fran8.6%
4Glico Mental Balance Choco GABA8.3%
5Lotte Toppo7.3%
6Morinaga DARS7.0%
7Morinaga Chocoball6.9%
8Morinaga Koeda6.7%
9=Meiji Milk Chocolate5.6%
9=Lotte Cacao no Megumi5.6%
11Glico Almond Chocolate5.1%
12=Lotte Ghana4.2%
12=Lotte Crunky4.2%
14Lotte Almond Chocolate4.1%
15Meiji Black Chocolate3.6%
16Meiji Choco Life3.1%
17Morinaga Milk Chocolate3.0%
18Meiji Strawberry Chocolate2.8%
19Hersey’s Kisses Choco2.7%
20Meiji White Chocolate2.0%

The reason for this Q4 was that GABA, polyphenol, and fibre in dark chocolate had been highlighted by “health” programs as beneficial. Specifically, Lotte Cacao no Megumi, Meiji Chocolate Kouka and Glico Mental Balance Choco GABA bill themselves as functional foods.

Q5: Which of the following brands do you want to buy in the future? (Sample size=635, multiple answer)

1Glico Pocky52.3%
2Morinaga Koeda48.2%
3Morinaga DARS40.7%
4Meiji Milk Chocolate39.9%
5Lotte Crunky36.7%
6Meiji Fran35.7%
7Morinaga Chocoball35.4%
8Lotte Toppo34.6%
9Lotte Ghana32.6%
10Glico Almond Chocolate32.1%
11Lotte Almond Chocolate30.0%
12Meiji Black Chocolate28.9%
13Morinaga Milk Chocolate26.8%
14Meiji Chocolate Kouka21.1%
15Lotte Cacao no Megumi19.7%
16Meiji Strawberry Chocolate19.5%
17Meiji White Chocolate19.0%
18Glico Mental Balance Choco GABA17.2%
19Hersey’s Kisses Choco17.0%
16Meiji Deluxe Chocolate9.7%

Next, a summary of one from MacroMill:

They found that 71.0% of their small sample of 490 chocolate eaters wanted to eat chocolate when tired or stressed, 65.3% ate as a snack, and 53.3% when hungry in between meals. The most favourite type of chocolate was bar-type, with 63.9% liking it, 58.1% chose fresh chocolate, and 55.8% almond chocolate. When asked to name the first high-class chocolate brand that came to mind, 49.0% chose Godiva, 6.0% Morozoff, and 4.5% Royce.

Now one from infoPLANT and Desk Top Research as resported by ZD Net:

12,074 users of NTT DoCoMo’s iMode chose to complete a survey available through their mobile phones over a week in the middle of October 2005. 72.1% of this self-selecting sample was female.

Research results

36.0% of men and 55.3% of women bought chocolate at least once a week. Looking at the average amount of money spent on chocolate-based products per month, a quarter spent just 100 to 300 yen, and another quarter spent 300 to 500 yen, or 25.3% and 25.2% repectively. In addition, 15.4% spent betweem 500 and 700 yen, 15.2% 700 to 1,000 yen, and 12.7% 1,000 to 3,000 yen. Looking at the data by sex, 36.5% of men spent over 500 yen per month, whereas nearly half (49.0%) of women spent the same amount.

Regarding where they shopped, the most common location was at a supermarket, with 70.8% using one, followed by 67.0% who got their chocolate fix at a convenience store. Men preferred convenience stores, women supermarkets.

Finally one from MDB Net Survey:

409 women aged 20 or over from both the Tokyo and Osaka conurbations successfully completed an internet-based survey between the 26th and 28th of January 2007, on the subject of St Valentine’s Day chocolate.

Research results

Q1: What brand do you want to send to your true love on St Valentine’s Day? (Sample size=409, multiple answer)

Maxim’s de Paris7.6%
Pierre Marcolini7.3%
Don’t want to send any24.4%

Q2: What country has an image of having delicious chocolate? (Sample size=409, multiple answer)

Don’t know, none in particular7.1%

I hope the above answers your question!

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1 Comment »

  1. sumpun jindavaranon said,
    February 10, 2009 @ 01:14

    it’s very good information, i will support your work direction.
    the information is very helpful.

    do you have the ranking information of the top 10 best exclusive chocolate brand selling around the world..
    I support godiva to come in the first rank.

    Thank you for your data in advance.
    sumpun jindavaranon

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