Having some chocolate after a bad day at work seems like a great idea. It makes a wonderful flavor of ice cream. It can be put into cookies, brownies, or eaten in a wide variety of bar forms. What many people may not realize, however, is that chocolate is also produced in cocoa fields from child slave labor.
The annual estimated sales of chocolate around the world contribute $83 billion to the global economy.
Chocolate Consumption Facts
As economies develop and wealth increases, chocolate is one of the first items that people in that growing economy want to have. Many of the developing nations, in fact, expect to see sales increases of up to 25% happen. Just about everyone loves chocolate. The statistics on chocolate consumption prove it.
- 50% of the world’s chocolate retail sales occur on the European continent.
- The United States accounts for 20% of the world’s chocolate consumption.
- Women [91%] prefer to eat chocolate more than men [87%].
- The average Brit, Swiss, or German citizen will each eat around 24 pounds of chocolate a year. This means that they eat about as much chocolate every year as seafood. This is double what the average American will eat.
- Asian markets are expected to hold a 20% share of the global chocolate market by 2016.
- On the average Valentine’s Day, nearly $400 million of chocolate is purchased around the world, accounting for 5% of the industry’s total sales.
- 0.0075%. That’s the amount of the $1 trillion in profits in the last 15 years that the chocolate industry has put back into improving working conditions for cocoa laborers in Western Africa.
- When it comes to net cocoa imports, the United States is the world leader at 20.96% of the total amount.
- Despite producing most of the world’s cocoa, Africans only account for 3.28% of the chocolate that is consumed annually.
- 4.03%. That’s the percentage of the chocolate market that is in North America that does not include the United States.
- The Asia/Oceania region currently makes up 15% of the chocolate consumption market.
- The United States makes up 18% of the world consumption of chocolate.
The next time you take a bite out of your favorite brand of chocolate, think for a minute about where the cocoa for that chocolate originated. In Europe, the US, Australia, and Asia, most of the chocolate that is imported is coming from agricultural zones where slavery, child labor, and other questionable business practices are in force. You could be eating a product that was collected by a 7 year old boy who is being beaten as encouragement to make his quota. We all consume a lot of chocolate, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but maybe we should be encouraging the consumption of ethically created chocolate products more than just enjoying a cheap candy bar with a trip to the grocery store.
How Much Chocolate Are We Actually Eating?
- The worldwide consumption of chocolate every year is estimated to be at least 7.2 million metric tons.
- The net sales of Mars Inc., a leading producer of chocolate productions, is over $17 billion every year.
- Hershey’s chocolate accounts for another $3.7 billion in sales. M&M candies have $606 million in sales all by themselves.
- The price per pound of chocopologie by Knipschildt: $2,600.
- The Ivory Coast, which features child slave labor, produces 1.6 million tons of cocoa every year.
- The amount of cocoa that is processed by Cargill each year: 600,000 tons. This accounts for 15.4% of the global market.
- West Africa produces 70% of the world’s cocoa market. 90% of these crops come from small farms that have less than 5 hectares of land.
There is some progress being made when looking closely at the numbers of chocolate consumption. For UK citizens, they consume over £37.5m worth of fair trade chocolate every year. This is chocolate that is produced by workers who are receiving a fair wage for their labor. This figure isn’t very high, but it is a start. Each cocoa tree can produce two crops each year, which means each tree has about 50 pods. There are about 40 cocoa beans in every pod. That’s enough chocolate per pod to make 8 milk chocolate bars or 4 dark chocolate bars. If we focus on fair trade, we can still get the chocolate fix we want and support more households around the world with a liveable income.
When Are We Eating Chocolate?
- Two-thirds of chocolate is consumed between meals. 22% of all chocolate consumed between 8pm and midnight.
- In 2008, there were so many new chocolate products being launched that there was an average of one new item being brought to the market every hour of every day.
- Brits prefer a chocolate bar to an extravagant holiday abroad.
- Chocolate significantly reduces theta activity in the brain, which is associated with relaxation, which is why we want to eat chocolate when we’re feeling stressed out.
- February 15, the day after Valentine’s Day, is the second highest day for chocolate sales during the season.
- More than 90 millions pounds of chocolate are purchased for the Halloween holiday.
- 75% of the chocolate purchased this week will come from men buying it for women.
Chocolate is a great food. The cocoa pods flourish near the equator, so there are limited places of growth for this wonderful commodity. This means that we can’t control the cocoa crop every year personally, but we can control our spending habits. If you’re feeling the craving for chocolate setting in, then look for the fair trade symbols on your chocolate so that you can provide legitimate supports to those seeking to earn a fair living. It might cost a little more, but let’s face it: a clear conscience is worth its weight in gold… or in this instance, chocolate.