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)

Rank Brand Percentage
1 Glico Pocky 93.8%
2 Morinaga Koeda 93.0%
3 Meiji Milk Chocolate 92.4%
4 Lotte Ghana 88.5%
5 Morinaga Chocoball 88.1%
6 Morinaga DARS 87.8%
7 Lotte Toppo 87.5%
8 Lotte Crunky 84.2%
9 Meiji Fran 83.6%
10= Meiji Black Chocolate 79.7%
10= Lotte Almond Chocolate 79.7%
12 Glico Almond Chocolate 78.8%
13 Morinaga Milk Chocolate 77.8%
14 Lotte Cacao no Megumi 65.8%
15 Meiji White Chocolate 61.9%
16 Meiji Strawberry Chocolate 57.9%
17 Meiji Chocolate Kouka 57.7%
18 Hersey’s Kisses Choco 55.1%
19 Glico Mental Balance Choco GABA 49.1%
20 Meiji Deluxe Chocolate 36.5%

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

Rank Brand Percentage
1 Glico Pocky 88.5%
2 Morinaga Koeda 85.6%
3 Meiji Milk Chocolate 81.9%
4 Morinaga Chocoball 81.6%
5 Morinaga DARS 76.1%
6 Lotte Toppo 75.0%
7 Lotte Ghana 73.9%
8 Lotte Crunky 68.5%
9 Meiji Fran 68.5%
10 Glico Almond Chocolate 66.6%
11 Lotte Almond Chocolate 66.3%
12= Meiji Black Chocolate 61.5%
12= Morinaga Milk Chocolate 61.5%
14 Hersey’s Kisses Choco 44.6%
15 Meiji Strawberry Chocolate 42.4%
16 Meiji White Chocolate 42.1%
17 Lotte Cacao no Megumi 39.6%
18 Meiji Chocolate Kouka 37.6%
19 Glico Mental Balance Choco GABA 29.6%
20 Meiji Deluxe Chocolate 20.9%

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

Rank Brand Percentage
1 Glico Pocky 33.1%
2 Morinaga DARS 29.3%
3 Morinaga Koeda 27.9%
4 Lotte Toppo 25.1%
5 Meiji Fran 23.6%
6 Meiji Milk Chocolate 23.2%
7 Meiji Chocolate Kouka 19.0%
8 Morinaga Chocoball 18.6%
9 Lotte Crunky 18.3%
10 Meiji Black Chocolate 17.2%
11 Lotte Ghana 15.6%
12 Glico Almond Chocolate 15.4%
13 Lotte Almond Chocolate 15.3%
14 Morinaga Milk Chocolate 14.0%
15 Lotte Cacao no Megumi 12.5%
16 Glico Mental Balance Choco GABA 12.2%
17 Meiji Strawberry Chocolate 8.7%
18 Meiji White Chocolate 7.8%
19 Hersey’s Kisses Choco 5.3%
20 Meiji Choco Life 4.8%

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

Rank Brand Percentage
1 Glico Pocky 12.2%
2 Meiji Chocolate Kouka 10.1%
3 Meiji Fran 8.6%
4 Glico Mental Balance Choco GABA 8.3%
5 Lotte Toppo 7.3%
6 Morinaga DARS 7.0%
7 Morinaga Chocoball 6.9%
8 Morinaga Koeda 6.7%
9= Meiji Milk Chocolate 5.6%
9= Lotte Cacao no Megumi 5.6%
11 Glico Almond Chocolate 5.1%
12= Lotte Ghana 4.2%
12= Lotte Crunky 4.2%
14 Lotte Almond Chocolate 4.1%
15 Meiji Black Chocolate 3.6%
16 Meiji Choco Life 3.1%
17 Morinaga Milk Chocolate 3.0%
18 Meiji Strawberry Chocolate 2.8%
19 Hersey’s Kisses Choco 2.7%
20 Meiji White Chocolate 2.0%

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)

Rank Brand Percentage
1 Glico Pocky 52.3%
2 Morinaga Koeda 48.2%
3 Morinaga DARS 40.7%
4 Meiji Milk Chocolate 39.9%
5 Lotte Crunky 36.7%
6 Meiji Fran 35.7%
7 Morinaga Chocoball 35.4%
8 Lotte Toppo 34.6%
9 Lotte Ghana 32.6%
10 Glico Almond Chocolate 32.1%
11 Lotte Almond Chocolate 30.0%
12 Meiji Black Chocolate 28.9%
13 Morinaga Milk Chocolate 26.8%
14 Meiji Chocolate Kouka 21.1%
15 Lotte Cacao no Megumi 19.7%
16 Meiji Strawberry Chocolate 19.5%
17 Meiji White Chocolate 19.0%
18 Glico Mental Balance Choco GABA 17.2%
19 Hersey’s Kisses Choco 17.0%
16 Meiji Deluxe Chocolate 9.7%

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)

Godiva 36.4%
Hand-made 17.6%
Royce 12.2%
Morozoff 9.3%
Rokkatei 8.6%
Fauchon 8.1%
Maxim’s de Paris 7.6%
Pierre Marcolini 7.3%
Other 6.8%
Don’t want to send any 24.4%

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

Belgium 65.5%
Japan 42.3%
Switzerland 40.6%
France 31.3%
Austria 10.8%
UK 10.0%
Germany 9.8%
USA 7.6%
Canada 7.1%
Don’t know, none in particular 7.1%

I hope the above answers your question!

1 Comment

sumpun jindavaranon · February 10, 2009 at 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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