Chocolate Sales for Valentine's Day

Every year, singles, couples, and pet owners celebrate Valentine’s day with gifts and affection for one day of the year to say, “I love you so much that I spent a great deal of money to make you happy for a few hours of today.” The chocolate industry is just one of the businesses that makes off with mountains of money from our affections. Chocolate and candy sales reach profits of $1,011 billion during Valentine's season. When did chocolate even become an ingredient for the recipe of love anyways? Well, chocolate was thought to be an aphrodisiac for the Aztecs. Spaniards brought this belief back with them to Europe where the theory continued to cause stimulation of love and romance. Science can back up that chocolate does, in fact, boost your mood as well. This candy effects chemicals in the brain, like serotonin and phenylethylamine. These two chemicals are anti-depressants and can make you feel more energized and happy.

In 1868, the first chocolate box was introduced by Richard Cadbury (that name sound familiar?). About 35-36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine's Day this year. The average American consumes 12 lbs. of chocolate a year. That is equivalent to 128 Hershey Bars a year. Though 58 million pounds of chocolate is bought around the Valentine’s season, Valentine’s Day isn’t the holiday that gets the most buys in chocolate. Halloween trumps Valentine’s Day and Easter by having the most purchased chocolate candy by more than 90 million pounds of chocolate. Switzerland citizens eat the most chocolate in the world, topping the charts with 22 pounds of chocolate per person each year. Americans are barely on the top 10 list with 12 pounds of chocolate annually per person.

Procrastination is what makes candy sales on the week of Valentine’s Day go up. February 13th is when the most chocolate for the holiday is bought and February 15th is the second highest day of the season. People wait the last minute to buy candy and bargain hunters can’t wait to get discounted chocolate that is still on the racks. It’s estimated that Americans will spend about 1.6 billion dollars on candy for Valentine’s Day. Men spend twice as much as women on Valentine’s Day gifts. Men, on average, will spend about $175 on gifts compared to women who, on average, will spend $88. A survey done by the Chocolate Manufacturers Association showed that 50% of women will give chocolate as a gift for Valentine’s Day.

So where is all this chocolate coming from? Who’s really making all the money here? Well, I’m glad you asked! The top three fair trade cocoa producers is the Dominican Republic at 49%, Ghana at 45%, and Bolivia at 3%. About 0.1% of cocoa is fair trade. 68% of cocoa is actually from Africa, with Côte d'Ivoire at 34%. Notice that Côte d'Ivoire isn’t on the list of fair trade cocoa producers. For every chocolate candy sold, 5 cents goes to the cocoa bean grower while 70 cents goes to the industry. When considering to buy Valentine’s gifts this year, perhaps buy locally grown or fair trade chocolates. Making your own gifts are just as heartwarming as well. Valentine’s Day is a lot like Christmas, where it’s the thought that really counts.