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How do consumers feel about the calorie and sugar content of chocolate? 
        
70% Would be interested in trying a low-sugar chocolate 
54% Would eat more chocolate if low-calorie options were available
36% Are worried about the calorie content of chocolate  
29% Think chocolate snacks should contain 100 calories or fewer 
15% Think all chocolate on the market is too high in calories 
9% Say sugar content is the most important factor when choosing chocolate
        
Source: Harris Interactive poll of 2,036 consumers   

Do consumers care about the sugar content of chocolate? Perhaps less than we think, found a poll of 2,000 consumers by Harris Interactive. Eighty per cent of them eat chocolate 'every week', but the survey found only 9% were 'very worried' about the calorie content of their chocolate. 

The survey also revealed that 21% of respondents 'often eat' a whole sharing bag in one go, with 2% scoffing their way through two whole sharing bags - typically containing about 100g of chocolate - every day, and another 5% getting through a single sharing bag every day. It's hardly the actions of a newly sugar-conscious society.

However, there was a definite interest in the concept of low-sugar chocolate. Only 12% were 'not interested' and a combined 70% were either 'quite interested' or 'very interested' to try a low-sugar variant of their favourite chocolate bar. 

There were some demographic variations. Men appeared to care less about sugar content than women - 24% of male respondents were very interested in a low-sugar bar compared with 40% of females - and 35% of 18 to 24-year-olds were very interested compared with 29% of over-55s.

More than a quarter of respondents (29%) stated the maximum number of calories they would consider acceptable in a chocolate snack was 100. A further 23% thought 300 calories was acceptable and 9% claimed they would be content with a 500kcal as a maximum for their chocolate snacks. 

When asked what the most important factor was when choosing a chocolate snack, 53% of consumers rated taste as their top priority. Price came second, with 18% of shoppers ranking it as the most important factor, followed by sugar content (9%) and calories (7%). Almost twice as many female respondents (9%) stated calorie content was the biggest factor in chocolate purchases compared with males. 

Overall, the survey also revealed that a sugar tax may be an effective tool to reduce consumption. Respondents put price as their number one priority when it came to choosing a chocolate bar, ahead of other options such as sugar, calories, ingredients and portion size.

Harris Interactive, a full-service digital market research agency, blends sector expertise and leading-edge technology to help FMCG companies make impactful decisions faster