Statistics & Facts on Chocolate Consumption and Industry

Produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree, cocoa has been cultivated for at least three millennia. This food originated in Mexico, Central and Northern South America and dates back to around 1100 BC when the Aztecs made it into a beverage known as Nahuati or "bitter water" in English. The chocolate-making process remained unchanged for hundreds of years. It wasn't until the Industrial Revolution, when mechanical mills were used to squeeze out cocoa butter which created durable chocolate that significant changes occurred.

Even though cocoa beans were discovered in the Americas, about three quarters of the world's cocoa is produced in Africa. The main cocoa-producing country was the Ivory Coast in 2016/2017, followed by Ghana and Indonesia. The Ivory Coast was also reported as one of the main cocoa bean processors in that year, second only to the Netherlands.

During the production process, chocolate is manufactured from cocoa butter. The all-time favorite confection recorded retail sales of about 98 billion U.S. dollars worldwide in 2016. In that year, 36 percent of all chocolate sales were generated in Western Europe. According to industry experts, Switzerland had the highest chocolate confectionery consumption per person of any other country. On average, every Swiss citizen consumed about 8.8 kilograms of chocolate in 2017, with the United States coming in at the nineteenth position at 4.4 kilograms per person.

The key players in the global chocolate business included Mars Inc., Mondelez International, and Nestlé in 2016. Lindt and Sprüngli was also ranked among the leading global chocolate companies. In the United States, the Hershey Company led the chocolate industry in 2016 with a 45 percent share of the U.S. market, while M&M’s, owned by Mars, was the single most popular brand of chocolate candy.

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