Overall chocolate sales are down, but Americans are increasingly indulging their sweet tooth with dark chocolate. The bitter, coffee-flavored treat is on the rise: Last year, dark chocolate sales surged 15% while sales of more popular milk chocolate dipped 5.5%. And boosted by claims of health benefits, dark chocolate accounted for 63% of all new chocolate products in 2006.
One doctor tells the LA Times studies linking improved cardiovascular function to dark chocolate are “intriguing” but require more research. Americans would probably be happy to help—while making the US the world's largest chocolate market, they've embraced pricey premium confections with pedigrees that wouldn't be out of place in a coffee bar or wine shop.