When it comes to Americans, apple pie tends to take center stage, but chocolate probably should be added to the old, familiar phrase. American consumption of chocolate is one of the world's largest and it appears as if there is no shortage of chocoholics that call the land of the free home. From chips and bars to hot, frothy drinks and ice cream, there is no denying America's long-lasting love affair with chocolate.
The International Cocoa Organization reports that Americans and Europeans are the world's biggest chocolate consumers. The industry itself is so big that chocolate is often referred to in measures of tons rather than ounces or pounds. The worldwide chocolate industry tops billions in annual value. The 2001 figures, for example, had the global chocolate trade worth more than $73 billion.
Although Europeans technically beat out Americans on chocolate consumption, they don't do so by much. In 2001, for example, Europe accounted for more than 40 percent of all chocolate-related revenues. The 2000 figures, however, show that American chocolate consumption added up to a whopping 3.3 billion pounds! This works out to roughly 12 pounds of chocolate eaten, drank or both by each American during that year.
The country that does tend to beat American consumption hands down is Great Britain. Britons are credited with 32 percent of the total European chocolate consumption rate. They are trailed by the Irish, who also seem to have more than one sweet tooth in their ranks.
Although chocolate is enjoyed the world over, the Americas and Europe lead the pack because of their more developed markets. Chocolate consumption began in America and then traveled across the pond to the Europeans next. The introduction of this confection is relatively new in other areas of the world, such as Africa and Asia.
The World Atlas of Chocolate reports that milk chocolate is the favored American variety. Some 71 percent of North Americas will readily say this confection is their flavor of choice. It is also said that more than 60 percent of chocolate consumption comes in between meals and that some 40 percent of the world's almond supply ends up in chocolate in one form or another. About 20 percent of the world's peanut crops end up blended in with chocolate.
The history of chocolate got its start in the Americas and the love affair continues. With everything chocolate milk to rich, creamy chocolate bars capturing attention, the average American consumes pounds a year rather than a few ounces.