The Chocolate Industry by the Numbers

Chocolate pralines.
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Valentine’s Day is almost here, and chances are, you’re going to buy some chocolate. If so, you’re not alone, as it’s definitely the unofficial fare of the holiday.

Related: How To Make the Perfect Valentine’s Day Present With Gifts From the Drug Store

More than just a delicious snack, chocolate is big business. Here’s a look at some interesting facts associated with this sugary goodness.

  • $2 billion: Not surprisingly, Americans are expected to spend $2 billion — or $15.32 per person celebrating — on candy for Valentine’s Day 2021, according to the National Retail Federation. By far the most popular purchase, 54% of people plan to buy candy for the most romantic holiday of the year.
  • $2.4 billion: Another candy-centered holiday, Americans were projected to spend $2.4 billion — or $27.55 per person — on Halloween candy in 2020, according to the NRF. An impressive 95% of people planned to buy sugary treats for the holiday.

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  • $2.49 billion: Americans planned to spend $2.49 billion — or $20.78 per person celebrating — on candy for Easter 2019, according to the NRF. It’s usually a tight race, but historically, more people purchase candy than food for the holiday, making it the most popular category.
  • $100 billion: Chocolate is a $100 billion industry, according to Bloomberg.
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  • 25 pounds: As of 2018, Germans consume an average of 24.25 pounds of chocolate per person each year, according to the CBI Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Quite impressive, this ranks them as the highest per capita consumption of all countries.
  • $16 billion: The U.S. chocolate production industry market size is $16 billion, according to IBISWorld. This includes 3,305 businesses that employ a total of 45,022 people.
  • 5.4%: In 2020 alone, restaurant and bakery closings in the U.S. were expected to cause a 5.4% decline in U.S. chocolate production industry revenue, according to IBISWorld.

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  • 4: A total of four companies hold a combined 87.2% of the U.S. chocolate market, as of 2017, according to a Mordor Intelligence report. This includes Hershey’s (43.8%), Mars (30%), Lindt/Ghiradelli/R.Stover (9.1%) and Nestle (4.3%).
  • 80+: More than 80 brands around the world are part of The Hershey Company, including Reese’s, Hershey’s Kisses, Jolly Rancher, Ice Breakers and Brookside, according to its website.
  • 18,000: A major name in the chocolate game, The Hershey Company employs approximately 18,000 people globally, according to the company website.

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  • $8 billion: Serious business, Hershey’s 2019 net sales totaled $8 billion, according to the company’s 2019 annual report.
  • $2.5 billion: Reese’s 2019 U.S. sales totaled $2.5 billion, according to Hershey’s 2019 annual report. It consistently tops the rankings of the most popular candies in America, but sometimes falls second to M&Ms or Snickers, depending on the metrics used.
  • 180: Beloved around the world, Mars Wrigley Confectionery — maker of M&M’s, Twix, 3 Musketeers, Milky Way, Dove and more — distributes products in 180 countries, according to the company website.

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  • 34,000: Mars Wrigley has 34,000 employees globally, according to the company website.
  • $37 billion: Major money, Mars, Inc. — the parent company of candy division Mars Wrigley — realizes $37 billion in annual sales, according to Forbes.
  • 400-1,200: One cacao tree produces 400-1,200 cocoa beans per year, according to the Rainforest Alliance.
  • 400: It takes 400 cocoa beans to make 1 pound of chocolate, according to the Rainforest Alliance.
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  • 60%: Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana produced a combined 60% of the world’s cocoa each year, according to the Bureau of International Labor Affairs.
  • 1.56 million: Horrifically, 1.56 million children engage in hazardous work on cocoa farms in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, according to the latest estimates from the ILAB. The agency has been fostering partnerships and securing commitments to help combat child labor in West African cocoa and create a global supply chain without exploitative labor practices.

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  • 80%: In the last 50 years, 80% of Côte d’Ivoire’s forests have been removed, largely due to cocoa farming, according to Yale Environment 360.
  • 8%: Chocolate confectionary from sustainably farmed cocoa equaled 8% of the entire global market in 2017, according to Euromonitor International.

Now that you’ve spent time learning about chocolate, it’s time to take a break and enjoy some.

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Last updated: Feb. 11, 2021

About the Author

Laura Woods is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. She specializes in a variety of topics, including marketing, personal finance, entertainment and lifestyle.

Her work has been featured on dozens of sites, including HuffPost, CNBC, Business Insider, Nasdaq, MSN, Yahoo, Fortune, Inc., Entrepreneur and POPSUGAR. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Robert Morris University.

The Chocolate Industry by the Numbers
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