Chocolate Consumption

Worldwide Consumption Rates

Europe Australia Japan Brazil United States

Click on the country or continent for mapped statistics on average annual chocolate consumption and related nutritional information.

The Top Chocolate Loving Nations are (lbs/yr):

1. Switzerland 22.36
2. Austria 20.13
3. Ireland 19.47
4. Germany 18.04
5. Norway 17.93

Chocolate Consumption Distribution Worldwide

Not all countries are able to enjoy the sweet taste of chocolate equally. There is a profound dichotomy between those nations that extract the raw materials and those who indulge in the finished product. As it is shown in the maps available, all but one of the top twenty countries that consume chocolate are considered 'well-developed' or 'advanced'. Brazil is the only country involved on the list that actually considers chocolate to be a natural resource.

The reality exists that the processing and consumption of chocolate products is Western World dominated. 70% of the worldwide profit from chocolate sales is concentrated in these countries. 80% of the world chocolate market is accounted for by just six transnational companies, including Nestle, Mars and Cadbury. Europeans alone consume around 40% of the world's cocoa per year, 85% of which is imported from West Africa. There have recently been efforts to initiate a fair-trade movement, which would encourage the purchase of cocoa from developing country producers at a fair price. However, tariff escalation continues to me a major problem, which acts to drive chocolate comsumers and cocoa exporters further apart.

Quick Chocolate Facts

-16 of the top 20 consuming countries are European

-in 2001 Americans consumed 3 billion pounds of chocolate, which totalled $13.1 Billion in sales

-in 2001 the sale of all other non-chocolate candy items combined was $7.6 Billion

-66% of chocolate is consumed between meals

-chocolate is North America's favourite flavour: 52% of adults surveyed like chocolate best with vanilla and fruit flavoured coming a distant second (12%)

-chocolate manufacturers currently use 40% of the world's almonds and 20% of the world's peanuts

-71% of North American chocolate eaters prefer MILK CHOCOLATE

-22% of all chocolate consumption takes place between 8pm and midnight

-more chocolate is consumed in the winter than any other season

Nutritional Information of Chocolate

Each Pound of Milk Chocolate Contains:

2300 calories, 140 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 370 milligrams of sodium, 270 grams of carbohydrates and 31 grams of protein

The major components of manufactured chocolate are approximately 54% cocoa butter, 11.5% protein, 9% cellulose, 6% tannic acids and colour, 5% water, 2.6% salts, 1% sugars, 0.2% caffeine and 10% organic acids and aromas. Depending on an individual chocolate manufacturers recipes the amount of cocoa mass will range from 7-15% in milk chocolate and 30-70% in dark chocolates.

Positive Aspects of Consumption (Is this an oxymoron?!)

Chocolate consumption has been scientifically linked to longer life. A few pieces of chocolate every month may make your life both sweeter and longer, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. A survey of healthy 65-year-old men revealed that those who ate sweets containing chocolate reportedly lived longer. Mortality was lowest among those consuming chocolate 1-3 times a month and higher among those who indulged in the habit 3 or more times a week. Surprisingly non-consumers had the highest mortality of all. As with most things in life, moderation seems to be paramount.

Chocolate is considered a major source of dietary copper, which is required for a healthy lifestyle. Cocoa and chocolate are also rich in minerals, such as magnesium and iron. Chocolate is a short term source for energy due to antioxidants and phenolics it contains. This energy source was even utilized by soldiers during heavy combat situations. A 40 gram chocolate bar contains the same amount of phenol as a glass of red wine and can be a positive source of dietary antioxidants. These anti-oxidants have been proven to reduce the risk of developing cancer or heart disease.

Click here for real audio about how phenolics can reduce the risk of heart disease

Negative Aspects of Consumption

Health

Overindulgence of chocolate has been linked to some overweight cases and coulds result in the onset of diabetes. Some researchers have also found the stearic acid, found in chocolate, may promote blood clots. So it is important to regulate the amount you consume.

Addiction

Many food scientists have reported chocolate to be the single most craved food. Chocolate has been found to trigger parts of the brain that are associated with drug addiction. The phenomena of chocolate craving is still poorly understood and it is yet to be found if addiction is a sensory or a pharmacological effect.

Consumption Myths

Acne

Chocolate does not cause acne. There is no scientific research that exists to link chocolate to skin breakouts.

Obesity

In USA, where the mean body mass is highest, the chocolate consumption is less than half of Switzerland's. The Finnish annual consumption is only 3.5 kg/year, in a country known for a high prevalence of obesity and coronary artery disease. The is no definitive correlation worldwide between chocolate consumption and obesity rates to this date.

Tooth Decay

Chocolate does not promote tooth decay as much as other high-suger foods do. An anti-bacterial agent that inhibits plaque formation has been found in chocolate. However, it doesn't hurt to brush and floss after eating.

The Last Bite

There is no reason chocolate can't be eaten in moderation. Eating one or two peices a month may do the trick, but remember that eating ten times that won't increase the benefits ten fold. It is important to use common sense when consuming your chocolate, because surplus calories leads to surplus belt sizes. However a chocolate treat now and then won't hurt........


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