In Mexico, production of cocoa takes place mainly in the southeastern state of Tabasco. The humid, tropical environment is ideal for cocoa tree plantations. In 2018, the area planted with cocoa trees in this coastal state expanded through more than 59.5 thousand hectares, resulting in a cocoa output of over 28 thousand metric tons. In addition to regular cocoa, as global sustainability and health concerns raise within the population, production of organic and sustainably certified cocoa has been developing in the country over the past years. These certifications try to ensure practices that are beneficial for the producers, the communities, and the environment.
After its cultivation and processing, cocoa allows for the production of well-known commodities such as cocoa butter and the widely consumed chocolate. In Mexico, chocolate is the most consumed product in the confectionery industry, with retail sales amounting to 1.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. Companies such as Nestlé, Effem and Ferrero lead the local market, with products including worldwide classics like M&M’s and Nutella, as well as more location specific products, like Nestlé’s “Carlos V” and “Chocolate Abuelita”.
While demand of these commodities is partly fulfilled by local production, imports of chocolate and other cocoa preparations into the country amount to millions of U.S. dollars every year. However, Mexico still holds a positive trade balance in the segment, with exports surpassing an annual value of 600 million U.S. dollars and the United States as their main market of destination.