Just as our New Year's resolutions of staying fit slowly fade into a distant memory, we are presented with the fourth most chocolate and candy-filled holiday of the year: Valentine's Day. According to the National Confectioners Association, the United States will be spending around 345 million dollars on 85 million pounds of chocolate in celebration. Worldwide, there are roughly 5 million households that grow cocoa as a means of income, mostly in Africa, Asia and South America. Cocoa beans, the dried seeds that are picked from the evergreen cocoa tree, are extracted of their butter and solids which are used as the basis of almost all chocolate.
At 2.5 million tons, Africa produces the majority of cocoa beans sold worldwide and consumes the least (just 3.28%). The harvesting exists within a similar framework to artisanal foodstuffs like coffee and wine; there are organic and not organic means of cocoa harvesting.
Below are two graphs that breakdown chocolate production by country as well as worldwide consumption.
In considering the impact of cocoa on the world, this Valentine's Day, be sure to gift responsibly if possible. A few notably responsible and dedicated purveyors of delicious chocolate include:
For more topics by the numbers: