It's not just because they love the taste. 

By Elisabeth Sherman
Updated May 24, 2017
India chocolate market
Credit: Barcroft / Contributor / Getty Images 

Most people think of chocolate as a timeless treat: People will always want to eat it. But since last year, chocolate sales have been falling in many places around the world. But not in India.

The country saw a 13 percent jump in chocolate sales in 2016, making them a global outlier, according to the research firm Mintel.

What could account for this unexpected embrace of chocolate? Marcia Mogelonsky, director of Mintel's food and drink division, thinks that part of sales growth could be due to the fact that India’s economy is currently booming, giving more people a disposable income.

But there’s another surprising reason behind India’s chocolate boom: Marketers in the country are focusing their efforts on selling sweets to adults.

Mintel reported that almost half of adults in the country—around 44 percent—actually think that chocolate is healthy. An additional 1 in 3 people in India think of chocolate as an energy source. And they aren’t that far off: Chocolate is packed with antioxidants, can lower your blood pressure, and even reduce your risk of blood colts.

As a result on these genius marketing schemes, in 2016 chocolate sales (in rupees) have increased by about 24 percent and they ate a staggering 228 thousand tonnes of chocolate.

Desserts are already incredibly popular in India, where 4 percent of people eat some kind of sweet treat (including chocolates or cakes) between meals.

Part of the popularity of chocolate is that it’s affordable, and at the moment, most retailers are being pressured to keep the prices down so that more people indulge in “impulse” purchases.

Even though India’s market for sweets in rapidly growing, they haven’t yet topped the Western market, which is still devouring most of the world’s chocolate supply: Last year Americans ate 1.3 million tonnes of what will likely always be our favorite candy.