A new report predicts that the global chocolate market will grow to $98.3 billion in 2016 from the $83.2 billion it was at in 2010.

The report - “Global Chocolate, Cocoa Beans, Lecithin, Sugar and Vanilla Market by Market Share, Trade, Prices, Geography Trend and Forecasts (2011-2016)” - was conducted by MarketsandMarkets (M&M).

It shows that factors including the health benefits of chocolate, the large variety of applications and seasonal and festive sales all are expected to play a role in increasing the market.

On the other side of the coin, factors that are expected to restrain growth include raw material prices, and the dependency of the industry on unstable economies for cocoa supply. And, major threats to the industry include: the rising counterfeit market and changing consumer preferences.

Meanwhile, opportunities that could change the dynamics of the industry include: lower penetration in developing economies, organic and Fair Trade chocolate and the use of chocolate as functional food.

Currently, Asia is driving sales in the market because it has lower penetration and is expected to hold a 20% share of the market in 2016. Specifically, sales in the Asian region are expected to increase to $19.7 billion in 2016, from the $15 billion it was at in 2010.

Regionally, the U.S. currently leads the markets in North America with a market share of 86.3%, while Japan leads the Asian market with a 39.7% market share. In Europe, the UK has the largest demand, with a market share of 16.4%, followed closely by Germany with 15.9%.

For more information, visit www.marketsandmarkets.com.