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More of a cult than a snack: gourmet chocolate, whatever form it takes, means “instant gratification”, but science also acknowledges its powerful anti-stress properties and beneficial effects on body and mind.
Even the statistics, as we shall soon see, speak in its favour: here are 10 interesting facts about chocolate you shouldn't miss.
7% of consumers choose a particular type of chocolate for its shape, size or packaging design. 28% make random purchases while 14% of chocolate buyers choose the same type out of habit. Only 9% of consumers carefully examine the label showing nutritional values and then base their choice on these figures.
23 male Nobel prize-winners were studied for a research and it was discovered that almost 50% ate chocolate more than twice a week, compared to 25% of a comparison group made up of normal consumers with an average level of education.
For 32% of consumers, chocolate is an impulse buy. The second most frequent reason for buying chocolate is a celebration or special event, such as Valentine’s Day (21%). These reasons are followed by habitual consumption (18%) or purchases prompted by advertising (15%).
38% is Europe’s share of the chocolate market, making our continent the biggest consumer of this product. Followed by the United States with 21%, Brazil and Russia with 5% each, and then Japan with 4%. The Germans top the world charts with an annual consumption of 11.4 kilos of chocolate per head. They are closely followed by the Swiss (10.8 Kg), the British (10.3 Kg), Norwegians (9.8 Kg) and Danes (8.6 Kg). The figures are so close to each other that they frequently swap positions in the course of the year. Italy is excluded from the top ten positions (with its consumption of 3.5 kilos oscillating between the 11th and 12th positions), but it does hold the record for the largest bar of chocolate in the world: it was produced in 2000 and weighed as much as 2268 kilograms. This particular bar disappeared fast but whoever wishes to store chocolate for a lengthy period can do so in the freezer where it will retain its aroma for as long as six months!
40 is the number of Theobroma cacao beans in one pod having an average weight of 500 grams. This plant grows to a height between 4 and 8 metres and is native to Central and South America. Unlike many other plants, the cacao tree is not pollinated by bees or butterflies, but by a particular type of tiny fly, the Forcipomyia. An interesting fact that was probably unknown to the earliest cacao consumers who apparently date back as far as 1900 B.C.
70% is the amount of cacao needed to make a good quality dark chocolate. Besides, this type of chocolate has only half the amount of sugar contained in milk chocolate. 85% dark chocolate contains only one quarter of that of milk chocolate.
84.35 billion dollars is the value of the world’s top ten chocolate manufacturers’ global turnover in 2014. The average cost of “Fair Trade” cacao is 1750 dollars per ton but it represents just 0.5% of the amount sold on the market.
100 grams of dark chocolate contain 546 kilocalories even though they will vary according to the quantity of cacao. This food provides an energy boost that is instant - thanks to its 60 grams of carbohydrates - and long-lasting owing to a fat content of 30 grams. The 45 milligrams of caffeine it contains (as much as an espresso) help us react more rapidly.
345 million dollars were spent in chocolates by American consumers in the week of Valentine’s Day. This was an all-time record and, on its own, constitutes 5% of the entire annual chocolate sales.
8000 is the approximate number of new chocolate-based products being launched on the world market every year.