Asia's newly minted chocoholics are tempting sweets-makers seeking growth, but chocolatiers face fresh challenges ranging from different cultural tastes to the region driving cocoa prices to three-year highs.
"The chocolate consumption still is very low in Asia Pacific," Denis Convert, vice president for gourmet in Asia Pacific at Barry Callebaut, the world's largest chocolate maker, told CNBC last week.
"We are still at the beginning of the story. The average consumption is about 200 grams per capita in Asia Pacific when it is between 6-8 kilograms in Europe." But Asia's chocolate demand is growing about 10 percent a year, he said.
Globally, around $107.63 billion was spent on retail chocolate, with $13.06 billion of it in the Asia Pacific, according to data from Euromonitor.
Courting that growth may be the main driver pushing cocoa prices to three-year highs. "The demand has outstripped supply for the third consecutive season. This hasn't been seen for 47 years," Erkut Ozer, CEO of Global Trading Enterprises, told CNBC recently. "The real demand factor has come from Asia. We've seen double-digit growth in chocolate consumption and that's really been the driver."