In "Chocolate's Child Slaves," CNN's David McKenzie travels into the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate what's happening to children working in the cocoa fields. More information and CNN International air times
But who produces and consumes the most chocolate in the world? Do women really partake of it more than men? Who has the highest demand for the indulgent treats? Take a look at some of these figures:
Chocolate is an $83 billion a year business, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets. That makes the industry's value larger than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of more than 130 nations on earth, World Bank figures show.
Europeans account for nearly half of all the chocolate the world eats, according to the International Cocoa Organization. The average Brit, Swiss or German will each eat around 11 kilograms (24 pounds) of chocolate a year.
Men's love of chocolate is on par with women's preference for the treat: A UK study by research group Mintel revealed 91% of all women admit to eating chocolate – with the men not far behind at more than 87%.
In Asia, chocolate hasn't traditionally been the sweet of choice, market analysis firm Euromonitor International reports. Right now, Indians eat only 165 grams (less than 6 ounces) of chocolate a year. The Chinese eat only 99 grams (3.5 ounces).
But as Asian economies grow, so is their demand for indulgent treats, reports Mintel. This year, chocolate sales in China are expected to rise 19 percent to $1.2 billion. India expects to see a 7 percent jump to $633 million. And in Indonesia chocolate sales are expected to leap 25 percent to $1.1 billion - ballooning to nearly $2 billion by 2015. In fact, Asian markets are expected to hold a 20% share of the global market by 2016.
Valentine's Day, which is just around the corner, means big business for chocolate companies. In the U.S. alone, more than 58 million pounds of chocolate candy are sold during Valentine’s week. That's $345 million in sales in just one week and it makes up more than 5 percent of chocolate candy’s sales for the year, according to Nielsen research.
Since the Harkin-Engel protocol was signed, the chocolate industry has made nearly a trillion U.S. dollars. According to the watchdog group Stop the Traffik, only 0.0075% of that money has been invested into improving the working conditions for children in West Africa.
Africa produces more than 75% of the world’s cocoa. The Ivory Coast alone produces more than 35% of the world's cocoa, says the International Cocoa Organization. More than three-fourths of all the world's cocoa comes from West Africa – but the entire continent of Africa only accounts for about 3 percent of its consumption.
Of the estimated 218 million child laborers in the world, about 70% work in agriculture, says the International Labour Organization, a U.N. agency.
Hungry for more? Here's more details of the consumption and production, according to the International Cocoa Organization:
World CONSUMPTION of cocoa: 2008/09
Europe – 49.32%
North America – 24.22% (United States only – 20.19%)
Asia and Oceania – 14.49%
South America – 8.68%
Africa – 3.28%
Annual per capita CONSUMPTION of chocolates: 2008
Germany – 11.39 kg
Switzerland – 10.77 kg
United Kingdom – 10.31 kg
Norway – 9.8 kg
Denmark – 8.57 kg
Belgium – 6.8 kg
Australia – 5.96 kg
US – 5.09 kg
Brazil- 2.48 kg
Japan – 2.15 kg
Net world Cocoa EXPORTS: 2008/09
African region – 76.8%
Asia and Oceania – 16.9%
Americas – 6.19%
Top 5 countries, Net world Cocoa EXPORTS: 2008/09
Ivory Coast – 37.01%
Ghana – 19.16%
Indonesia – 15.33%
Nigeria – 8.71%
Cameroon – 7.03%
Net world Cocoa IMPORTS: 2008/09
Europe – 58.87%
America – 27.25%
Asia and Oceania – 12.12%
Africa – 1.7%
Top 5 countries, Net world Cocoa IMPORTS: 2008/2009
United States – 20.96%
Germany – 13.20%
Belgium – 6.28%
United Kingdom – 5.63%
France – 5.47%