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LONDON: Raw chocolate KitKats, Dark Milk, vegan bars with quinoa and now "ruby" chocolate: The world's biggest chocolate-makers are looking for ways to keep increasingly health-conscious consumers coming back for more.Smoother dark chocolate bars, protein bars with chocolate, sugar-free chocolate and single-origin chocolate are an answer to consumer demand for healthier and higher-quality bars, the companies say.The volume of confectionery products sold worldwide rose just 0.5 percent in 2016-17 after falling for two years, according to research company Euromonitor International.While the volume of chocolate sales has been largely static, the value of sales rose 3.6 percent in 2016-17, according to Euromonitor, suggesting consumers may be prepared to pay more for chocolate they believe is healthier or better quality.While there is doubt over whether dark chocolate has health benefits, the perception it is healthier than milk chocolate has prompted a 31 percent rise in dark chocolate product launches in the past four years, according to market research firm Mintel.HEALTHY TREATS?Large confectionery companies are also venturing into snack and cereal bars including chocolate, seeking to take advantage of growing global demand for healthier snacks.
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