Food & Beverage

Americans eat HOW MUCH chocolate?

Janine Satioquia-Tan | Special to
Americans are major chocoholics
Americans are major chocoholics

Even without allowing Kinder Surprise over U.S. borders, Americans have made their country the world's chocolate hogs, gobbling down more than all of Asia Pacific combined, data from Euromonitor show.

Americans will eat nearly 18 percent of world's chocolate confectionery by value in 2015 — or around $18.27 billion worth, according to fresh estimates including June data from Euromonitor — that's more than all of Asia Pacific, which is expected to enjoy around $14.3 billion worth of chocolate this year.

That's despite a glaring difference in the number of people, with the U.S. population around 321 million dwarfed by more than a billion people each in India and China as well as another around 600 million in Southeast Asia.

But that doesn't mean Americans are the biggest chocolate gluttons globally. That title goes to Switzerland, the motherland of chocolate giants such as Lindt and Toblerone.

The Swiss are expected to binge on around 9.1 kilograms (kg) — or more than 20 pounds — each, the equivalent of eating almost 173 regular Snickers bars (52.7 grams) this year.

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Austria and Germany tie at second place with both countries consuming 8 kg of chocolate per capita.

By comparison, Americans are almost on a diet, ranking 20th at 4.3 kg each, even coming in below Kazakhstan's 5.4 kg.

Meanwhile in Asia, where chocolate has not traditionally been the sweet of choice, people in China will eat just 200 grams of chocolate each this year, while Indians will eat only 100 grams, Euromonitor estimates.

It isn't certain whether Asia's chocoholics will catch up to Europe or the U.S. any time soon.

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Many in the region find chocolate too sweet or "heaty," a reference to traditional Chinese medicine's belief that such foods can cause physical symptoms, such as sore throats.

Asia also presents another challenge for chocolatiers in the region: the weather. Humidity and heat can hurt the quality of chocolate, and poor infrastructure in many areas means refrigeration can be spotty.

Leslie Shaffer contributed to this article.