For those of you who know me personally, this isn’t exactly a newsflash: It’s not just cakes for me. My sweet tooth stops at (almost) nothing. If I had to choose between chocolate, ice cream or cake for my last meal, I’d be hard pushed for a decision. Not everyone is such a competent allrounder, I realise. In fact, there are some pretty divisive national preferences.
[N.B.: The reason I’m not including my beloved cakes here is the difficulty of getting easily comparable data. Although the database I’m using does feature cakes under bakery products, this refers to packaged cakes, excluding the home-made component, which, I should imagine, comprises a major part of all cakeage consumed. Chocolate confectionery and ice cream, on the other hand, are mostly industrially produced, making for a more reliable comparison.]
Shock revelation number one: Ice cream is more popular than chocolate
On a global basis and going by weight, almost twice as much ice cream was eaten in 2012 than chocolate – 12.8 million tonnes vs. 7.3 million tonnes, which works out at 1.8kg and 1kg per head, respectively.
Now, for chocolate confectionery, I would have plonked for Switzerland and Belgium spearheading the per capita consumption charts, but I’m slightly off. The UK led in 2012 with 11kg per person, followed by Switzerland (9.5kg), Ireland (9.4kg) and Germany (8.2kg).
As for ice cream, I expected the US to come out tops, but wrong again! It’s Australia and New Zealand claiming the top scoop, with 13.7kg and 12.6kg per head in 2012, respectively. Next up is Finland with 10.4kg. The US and Canada follow in fourth and fifth position with 9.4kg and 8.2kg. Italy, the spiritual home of ice cream, ranks fifth.
National preferences – chocolate vs. ice cream
Those frequent scenes in sitcoms and movies where the girl, after a tiff with her boyfriend, pulls a tub of ice cream out of the freezer to console herself, always struck me as particularly ‘American’. Is it true that people in the US prefer ice cream while Europeans are more partial to chocolate?
Well, it seems the US most definitely has a proclivity for ice cream over chocolate. US consumers made do with just 4.4kg of chocs per head in 2012, which is less than half of their ice consumption. Australians’ ice cream intake exceeded that of chocolate close to three times. Britons, however, gobbled almost double the amount of chocolate compared to ice cream. Must have something to do with the weather…
Italians, no big surprise there, exhibit a notable preference for ice cream over chocolate, putting away 7.3kg vs. 2.6kg, respectively. French tastes, by comparison, are evenly weighted, with just a bit over 4kg per capita consumed of both. Belgium also has a fairly balanced approach, albeit slightly more weighted towards the chocolatey end of things.
What are the most popular brands?
Going by annual retail value sales rather than total volume sales this time, Cadbury’s, a British brand that was bought by US food giant Kraft (now called Mondelez International) in 2010, is the world’s most popular chocolate brand, followed by Snickers and M&M’s, both owned by Mars Inc. Hershey’s ranks fourth, Galaxy/Dove (Mars) fifth and Reese’s, also owned by Hershey Co., sixth.
Globally, the three biggest chocolate confectionery manufacturers are Mars, Mondelez International (formerly known as Kraft) and Nestlé. Yes, yes, there are hundreds of good reasons to boycott Nestlé, which is still world’s biggest food company… but flash one Chunky KitKat at me, and they all melt away… I’m just weak 😦
In ice cream, Magnum is the global favourite, followed by Cornetto, and Dreyer’s/Edy’s in third place. The first two are owned by Unilever, the latter by Nestlé. Häagen-Dazs ranks fourth. Unilever and Nestlé are the world’s biggest ice cream makers.
[For data source, click here]