Jakarta. Indonesia is going to consume 99,000 tons of chocolate this year, establishing a Rp 15 trillion ($1.13 billion) domestic market, which drives the country's transformation from a raw cocoa exporter to its net importer, according to a report by global research company Mintel.
Indonesia is the third largest cocoa producer in the world, after Ivory Coast and Ghana. The government's efforts over the past few years to encourage local processing have turned the country into a net importer.
Indonesians consumed 94,000 tons of chocolate last year, more than double compared with 2007. The market value in 2016 reached Rp 14 trillion, from just Rp 4 trillion in 2007.
"Due to the increasing number of middle and upper income class consumers, chocolate is not considered a luxurious product anymore," Mintel said in a report sent to the Jakarta Globe last week.
According to the study, Indonesia's youth fuels seasonal demand for cocoa products such as Valentine's Day chocolates.
"Indonesian consumers also consider chocolates as perfect Christmas or Idul Fitri gifts," Mintel said.
The company's study on consumer behavior found that 46 percent of Indonesian consumers in urban areas, aged between 18 and 24, have chocolate biscuits at least once a week.
About 28 percent of them buy chocolate on impulse, while 17 percent on intention.
Still, the increase in local consumption exceeded the production of chocolate beans.
The highest demand so far was observed in 2013, when Indonesians consumed 99,000 tons of chocolate.
The government dropped the 5 percent import duty on cocoa beans in 2014 in order to meet the demand.
As one of the biggest cocoa producers, Indonesians enjoy the lowest chocolate prices in Asia.
Mintel estimates that the country's market will reach Rp 22 trillion in 2020, with an average annual growth of 12 percent.