Chocolate’s Evolution: History, Consumption, and Shopping

Chocolate lovers know this product was born for those who love to taste a warm, creamy, and delicate flavor. When placed on the palate, it evokes various pleasurable emotions and takes us to the greatest delight of delights, whether bitter or sweet, with or without additions.

Chocolate comes from the cocoa bean, and according to history, it was first cultivated in Mexico during the Olmec civilization. These ancient Mexicans roasted and mixed the seeds with water, producing a rich and bitter drink called “xocolatl.”

Later, this delicious drink reached Europe, where sugar was added to make it sweeter, and England was the country where the first chocolate as we know it today was manufactured.

In Mexico and Europe, chocolate was only within the reach of the privileged classes since it was an expensive item that was usually used as currency to buy services and materials.

Over time, chocolate became increasingly popular among new consumers, and today, it is one of the most coveted foods in the world.

How Is Confectionery Chocolate Made?

Cocoa nuts are fermented, dried, and roasted before being ground into cocoa powder.

Then, with this by-product, the magic happens: the powder is turned into cocoa-based confectionery products, resulting in dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate, each with a unique taste and texture.

Production and Consumption

In 2023, West Africa (Marfil Coast, Ghana, and Nigeria) was the world’s largest cocoa producer, with around two million tons. The Netherlands, Belgium, and the United States were the main export destinations.

Each person is estimated to ingest an average of 3.5 kilograms of chocolate per year. However, consumption continues to increase. In 2023, the countries with the highest chocolate consumption in the world were Switzerland, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom, with annual per capita consumption figures per person between 8.2 kg and 8.8 kg. In the United States, the average person consumes approximately 4.5 kilograms of chocolate each year.

The premium chocolate market is estimated to be worth $35.97 billion in 2024 and is expected to reach $54.91 billion in 2029, growing at a compound annual rate of 8.83% between 2024 and 2029.

Related Article: Seasonal Confectionery Is a Key Driver of the Category and Business

The Evolution of Chocolate

The chocolate confectionery market is highly dynamic in bars, tablets, or chocolates. It is gaining ground as the growing demand for artisan, premium, and top-quality chocolates in various regions of the world is an exciting evolution in the manufacture and consumption of chocolate in the confectionery world.

Of course, flavors are a crucial element of choice. Consumers want unique, rare, seasonal, and limited-edition chocolates. They want exciting, multi-textured, and visually appealing flavors, including their packaging.

In 2024, the trend towards healthier lifestyles will significantly influence the chocolate industry. As a result, many consumers are interested in the product’s healthy ingredients, which highlight nutritious, energizing, and health-supporting chocolate.

Innovation and Luxury that Stay in Your Mind and on your Palate

Candied chocolate not only provides an explosion of delicious flavors to our palate, but also, in many aspects, it is perfect for people’s health as it helps prevent heart disease, improves brain function, reduces the risk of diabetes, and promotes a sense of well-being.

This not only brings a host of benefits to our mouths but also luxury and distinction.

Chocolate manufacturers constantly innovate and introduce new products, including flavors, textures, and formats.

Chocolate confectionery packaging also stands out for its quality and beauty, making it a prestige factor for those who buy it to satisfy a whim or give it as a gift or a jewel.

Innovation, as well as the decision to invest in refined and luxurious packaging, provides the consumer with an experience and, undoubtedly, a feeling of luxury, which has driven this type of trust to choose an exclusive profile for those with this purchasing power.

Online vs. In-Store Shopping

It continues to be the trend that the primary place consumers go to buy chocolate products is physical stores, as evidenced by the fact that, in 2023, approximately 97% of sales recorded by the industry will have yet to be made over the Internet.

Another trend affecting the confectionery chocolate market includes the growing demand for organic, vegan, sugar-free, and gluten-free chocolates due to consumers’ awareness of the adverse effects of synthetic products on health and the environment.