Overall, three of the so-called BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia and China – have seen slowing chocolate consumption trends. Researchers say most of the chocolate slowdown has occurred in the last two years due to macro-economic headwinds.
Euromonitor's forecast was revised recently for Brazil and Russia's chocolate volume sales. For Brazil, the researcher expects volume sales to be between 3 percent and 12 percent lower by 2020 than its earlier forecasts, reflecting household consumption levels falling while the local economy slows.
As for Russia, it sees the outlook as "uncertain." The outlook will depend on how it recovers from its economic slowdown, with volume sales possibly 13 percent lower in 2020 in a pessimistic scenario, or 5 percent higher given an optimistic one.
Even India, the second-most populous country, has seen weakness in the chocolate category. Major Western food brands have invested heavily in India's market, including Nestle and Cadbury, among others.
Experts suggest the success of India's chocolate market will ultimately depend on affordability. Chocolate that might be affordable to urban consumers may be out of reach to the population in rural areas, where incomes tend to be lower.
In part, India's recent softness can be traced to headwinds the local market faced last year when a national food regulator made changes on labeling, quality and the way products are imported into the Asian nation.
"A lot of companies had to stop selling products in India for a couple of months last year," said Jack Skelly, an analyst for Euromonitor in London. "That had to do with a change in regulation. That is a temporary blip."
India's actions covered such things as organics and genetically modified ingredients. The end result was some food companies were ordered to withdraw products and others made recipe changes or shelved new launches.
To be clear, not all emerging markets are struggling as growth is considered attractive in Mexico and Indonesia, according to Euromonitor. Some confectionery companies such as Mondelez have moved production from the U.S. to Mexico, where labor is cheaper.
"These remain nascent markets for chocolate, where distribution is increasing and the product grows more affordable," Euromonitor said.