Who consumes the most chocolate?
January 17th, 2012
10:04 AM ET

Who consumes the most chocolate?

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
Other Countries:
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%

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soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. David Ofori

    It is sad to see such situations in especially, Africa. When are the Head of States going to wake up from their slumber? Can this happen on the developed countries that consume much the cocoa produced?. I think Africa is cursed forever.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Reply
  2. Caroline

    This statistics is the case of an egg eater who does not think of the pain a hen has to go thru in bringing egg to his table.

    January 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Reply
  3. Ademola Tajudeen

    I think an America Company should start a Chocolate Factory in Ivory Coast to help development and reduce waste on Export and Import Charges

    January 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
    • mark longhurst

      I think they have been invloved and not done a thing to help -look at other U.S companies like, nike etc who are still underpaying people for the work they are forced to do because of poverty

      January 17, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Reply
  4. kcm367

    So you believe if we consume less chocolate those kids will get freedom?
    No! They will be pushed to another form of slavery, like marijuana or opium. Is that what you want to see?

    January 17, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  5. mark longhurst

    the major producing states have all been in some form of conflict and financial dissaray, even Nigeria, biggest oil producer in Africa with 50 % unemployment-these govs do not give a s#*t about their people at the lowest level as their leaders are comlicit and making money out of this.

    January 17, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Reply
  6. RT

    The statistics list doesn't make any sense. For example, if Germany consumes twice as much chocolate as the US (11.39kg vs 5.09kg), how does Germany import half as much (13.20 vs 20.96%). This sounds like statistics being manipulated to say whatever the statistician is trying to prove. This is why we say, it's not the numbers that lie, it's the people spinning and misrepresenting the data.

    January 18, 2012 at 10:25 am | Reply
    • Sue

      RT: the statistics make perfect sense. The kg is per capita which means per person. Per person. An average German consumes more chocolate than the average American but there are more Americans. That's how the math works.

      January 18, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Reply
      • Sue

        If you had a country with ten people in it who ate one pound each per year, but a country with many more people in it but each one ate a half pound per year.....you can see how the country with the larger population would consume more, right? Simple math.

        January 18, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  7. Sunflower

    For once the U.S. was not at the top of the charts for consumption... a miracle.....

    January 18, 2012 at 11:31 am | Reply
  8. Bob

    Boycotting all chocolate won't help; it punishes the kids and the farmers, and the companies that have reformed. Can you tell us what evidence you have about particular COMPANIES and their farms? I'd like to boycot the ones who are the worst offenders.

    January 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Reply
  9. moh jamhour

    The problem remain in the hands of governments and their leaders whom they ignore morality and human suffering
    ,In order to satisfy corporations capital greed such as chocolate companies where turn
    They contribute to politicians. also

    Child slavery in africa and
    around the world is not the product of consumers of chocolate or other goods,it is a consequence of. political corruption that has been haunting poor families and their children

    January 21, 2012 at 12:12 am | Reply
  10. moh jamhour

    The problem remain in the hands of governments and their leaders whom they ignore morality and human suffering
    ,In order to satisfy corporations capital greed such as chocolate companies where turn
    They contribute to politicians. also

    Child slavery in africa and
    around the world is not the product of consumers of chocolate or other goods,it is a consequence of. political corruption that has been haunting poor families and their children

    January 21, 2012 at 12:14 am | Reply
  11. Mahesh

    I think insted of kicking in the stomac of these kids and there family in the name of advocacy please advocate for their pay rise and better future. there is no doubt that they are already in disadvantage situation than most of the kids in some western countries and no one can change these fact ,, with these type of media pressure these kids will loose their job and who will feed them ,, i don;t think save the children , Ausaid or undp will because they are busy on fighting for their own pay rise,, so please help these kids from loosing their daily food because of some devil advocate ,, Please involve these kids in any form of skills with equal respect and with more oppurtunity so they can stand on there own feet insted of being victim of these devil advocay,,,,

    January 21, 2012 at 10:12 am | Reply

    Too much politics and corruption involved! The slave children are being fed, whereas otherwise, they may starve to death. No schooling for them, but there would be no schooling anyway! They seem to be treated well as they perform slave duties. We can't change culture, custom and history by some CNN reports. It's a part of their system! I, for one, will NOT boycott chocolate, and will continue to buy and consume the stuff! Now, as I enjoy eating it, I will think of the fact that I am helping some slaves to be fed, rather than starve to death. (We know that there are no rich CEOs or middlemen who are making millions from the process!!)

    January 25, 2012 at 11:10 am | Reply
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    نعم هناك تشغيل للاطفال فى اكثر الدول الفقيرة لا اعتقد انها عبودية لان الطفال وزويهم يحتاجون الى العيش وليس لهم عائل غير هولاء الاطفال ليعملوا ويكسبو قوت زويهم ولكن المشكلة ان الشركات تستغل لتدفع اجورا اقل من اجور الكبار ولهذا يوظفون الاطفال لرخص الاجر هذه هو السيء هناك اطفال فى افريقيا وهيضا فى الهند والباكستان حيث يعملون فى نسج السجاد الغالى برواتب زهيدة وهم مجبرين على العمل والا هلكت عائلته من العدم والجوع على المجتمع الغنى مساعدة الدول الفقيرة على انشاء المصانع والمصالح التى تعين شعبها عندما تصلح اقتصاد البلد فلا تجد الفقر وعندها لا تجد العمالة للاطغال بل الذهاب الى المدارس ولاكن نتهم الدول الفقيرة دون مساعدتها للخروج من حالة الفقر هذا ظلم

    October 31, 2012 at 12:08 am | Reply
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    Which age groups in china consume the most and the least chocolate?

    February 23, 2014 at 7:22 am | Reply
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    Wow,I guess I didn't realize chocolate was so popular everywhere...probably because,believe it or not,I'm not a big chocolate fan myself...lol!

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