GUEST WRITER

Most auspicious moments around the world are commemorated with something sweet to eat; for example, be it Eid, Christmas, or Diwali, the demand for sweets skyrockets during these occasions and all meetha cravings are satiated. Similarly, chocolate, the consumption of which is synonymous with happy moments, even without there being a special occasion to celebrate, has been observed to have gained widespread popularity across all age groups. And given the easy availability and its endless variety, chocolate seems to be replacing traditional meetha as the item of choice for special occasions.

Countries around the world are witnessing a subtle shift from chocolate being an impulse purchase item, to one that is a planned purchase. Chocolate companies have been quick to respond to such evolving consumer preferences, catering especially to such merry moments and occasions when consumers share their joy with loved ones through sharing a box of chocolates. For instance, the trusted household name for generations, Cadbury Dairy Milk, has over years depicted celebratory moments in its marketing campaigns in which chocolate is shown as being shared to multiply the effect of happiness, and to instill the virtue of sharing. Thus, whether it’s a wedding, a friends’ get-together or a religious festivity, the brand has made its consumption synonymous with sharing and caring during joyous moments.

According to Nielsen, Americans purchase over 26 million kilograms of chocolate just during the Valentine’s Day period, with this being just a small segment of the annual consumption of almost 1.4 billion kilograms . Much nearer to home, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest chocolate consumer in the Middle East and relishes a share of 52% of the total consumption of all countries in the region. Again, consumption peaks during festivities like Eid, and also during Ramadan, when the demand for chocolates increases by as much as 40%.

Similarly in India, Diwali is one such occasion when the chocolate industry experiences a sudden surge in chocolate demand, especially as its preference as a tasteful gift has gained significance.

Interestingly, Switzerland is the biggest consumer of chocolates in the world, on a per capita basis, with the average Swiss person consuming 9 kilograms of chocolates every year. It is followed by Germany, Ireland, and then the United Kingdom. United States is the 9th biggest consumer, with an average American consuming over 4 kilograms of chocolates every year.

African countries are very dependable in this regard, as they continue to provide high quality cacao beans to the world’s finest brands of chocolate. Ivory Coast, aka Côte d'Ivoire provides 30% of the world’s cocoa, producing a total crop worth 1.5 million tonnes, which account for two-thirds of the trade revenue for the nation . Interestingly enough, given the worth of this crop and its contribution to the GDP of the country, Ghana has the cocoa crop engraved on its coins. Moreover, a noteworthy aspect of the escalating demand also made Indonesia harvest cocoa since the 1980’s.

Elsewhere in the world, seasonal sales during Halloween, Christmas, and Easter rise precipitously around the globe, favouring chocolate in every regard. Companies devise creative campaigns to delight consumers during the festivities of each respective season. One such campaign for instance, which marketers will find quite insightful, was magnified in the UK through the hashtag, #CadburyCraveyard, where the company designed a voting mechanism to enable consumer voting to relaunch either of the two previously divested variants; Cadbury Marble and  Cadbury Fuse for a limited time only. According to the company, these variants were resurrected after a peaceful rest.

Historical evidence and scientific validity have proved that cocoa has several health benefits. For instance, it is a rich source of flavonoids which are naturally occurring compounds found in plants and plant based foods and beverages. Much of their activity as antioxidants is linked with healing attributes as well.

Chocolate undoubtedly creates a sweet bond between individuals and is indeed a miracle substance!