Happy Fourth of July to our U.S. readers!
Thanks for spending time with Candy Industry on this special day. Hopefully you’re enjoying Sweet & Healthy poolside or between hamburgers. My plans include watching fireworks and devouring as much of my mother’s famous potato salad as I can stomach.
While this holiday serves as a great opportunity to relax and reflect, there’s another holiday this week I’m just as excited for — World Chocolate Day, set for July 7. 
Like many in our industry, I don’t really need an official holiday to celebrate chocolate, but this observance is one I don’t want to miss. Knowing people across the globe will feast upon chocolate on Saturday makes it even better.
In honor of World Chocolate Day, here are a few global chocolate statistics to peruse while sampling your favorite truffles or bars:
  • Worldwide chocolate sales were estimated to reach $98 billion in 2016, according to Statista.
  • At a an average of 8.8 kilograms (19.4 lbs.), Switzerland consumed the most chocolate per capita in 2017. Austria followed with 8.1 kilograms (17.8 lbs.), and Germany and Ireland tied for third at 7.9 kilograms (17.4 lbs.). American consumers gobbled up 4.4 kilograms (9.7 lbs.).
  • In Germany, the U.K. and France, Western Europe’s biggest markets, consumer spend on chocolate was more than twice than that on sugar and almost 10 times as much as on gum in 2016, according to Euromonitor.
  • The Top 5 global confectionery companies, per Candy Industry’s Global Top 100 all produce chocolate products. They include: Mars Wrigley Confectionery ($18 billion); Ferrero Group ($12 billion); Mondelez International ($11.65 billion); Meiji ($9.65 billion); and Nestlé SA ($8.82 billion).
  • In 2011, Thorntons created the world’s largest chocolate bar, which weighed in at 12,770 lbs. It measured 13 ft. by 13 ft. by 1 ft., according to Guinness World Records.
  • Last year Sweet Shop USA broke the record for the world’s largest chocolate truffle by making a 2,368-lb. Milk Swiss Mint Truffle, according to Guinness World Records.
That’s a lot of chocolate, here and abroad. But while celebrating on Saturday, it’s important to remember the world wouldn’t have its beloved treat without the hard work of cocoa farmers in Africa, Asia and Central and South America. 
As the confectionery industry moves forward, it needs to remain steadfast in its support of farmers through the cocoa cultivation process and community development. Many of the industry’s largest companies are making progress, but we’ve got a long way to go.
That said, Happy World Chocolate Day. We’ll see you Oct. 28 for National Chocolate Day.