10 Surprising Chocolate Money Facts

10 Surprising Chocolate Money Facts

Did you know there’s a National Chocolate Day (on July 7th)?

If not, you’re probably not shocked, after all, chocolate deserves days of celebration, in my opinion!

As we all take the time to celebrate our favorite sweet treat, you might be surprised by these chocolate money facts. Although not every fact will leave a pleasant taste in your mouth, every fact came as a surprise to this chocolate lover.

1. The global chocolate market is worth $138.5 billion

10 Surprising Chocolate Money Facts - The global chocolate market is worth $138.5 billion

Although it is no secret that there are large numbers of chocolate lovers around the world, the sheer size of the global chocolate market is surprising. 

According to a report from Fior Markets, the global chocolate market is $138.5 billion in size. That’s a lot of chocolate! Experts are predicting that the market will grow to $200.4 billion in 2028. 

2. Milk chocolate dominated the market in 2020

Any chocolate lover has particular tastes. Some love dark chocolate, while others can’t stand it. Personally, I love milk chocolate, so I’m happy to see that it is dominating the market. 

In 2020, milk chocolate accounted for 54% of the chocolate market; that’s $74.79 million worth of milk chocolate. 

A popular recipe for milk chocolate wasn’t created until 1875. At that point, Daniel Peter, a Swiss chocolatier, finally perfected the milk chocolate recipe that he had been working on for eight years!

3. Chocolate was once used as money

In Mayan times, cacao beans (the origin of chocolate) were used as a form of money. 

Although Ancient Mayans didn’t use money in the form of coins and paper that we think of today, the society used valuable items in a bartering system to comprise their complex economy. According to a recent study, one of those valuable items deemed acceptable for bartering was cacao beans. 

Based on a collection of depictions, it appears that Mayan rulers collected cacao beans as a form of tax. With that, cacao beans were literally a form of money that grew on trees!

4. Most cacao farmers earn less than $1 per day

10 Surprising Chocolate Money Facts - Most cacao farmers earn less than $1 per day

As a multi-billion dollar industry, it is surprising that the majority of cacao farmers that support this massive industry earn less than $1 a day for their efforts. 

On average, a cacao farmer will profit between $1,400 to $2,000 per year, which leads to at most $5 per day to support a farm of 6-10 dependants. With that, most cacao farmers are living below the World Bank’s poverty line of $1.25 per day. 

With this economic pressure, many children are pressed into hazardous working conditions to support the chocolate industry. Several organizations, including Make Chocolate Fair, are looking into options to help cacao farmers organize to create a more sustainable income

5. Americans spent $22 billion on chocolate in 2018

Americans spent a whopping $22 billion on chocolates in 2018. And that number will likely continue to increase each and every year. 

Our country’s chocolate consumption increases around specific holidays. These holidays include Valentine’s Day and Halloween. But the average American eats almost 12 pounds of chocolate each year. 

6. Four companies own 87% of the U.S. chocolate market

When you head to the grocery store, you can likely find a wide selection of brands for your chocolate preferences. This is why you might be surprised to learn that only four companies own over 87% of the U.S. market. 

Based on a Mordor Intelligence report, these companies include:

  • Hershey’s.
  • Mars.
  • Lindt-Ghirardelli-R. Stover.
  • Nestle. 

Hershey’s owns the largest market share at 43.8%. That led to over $8 billion in sales for Hershey’s! 

7. Cacao trees offer limited yields

10 Surprising Chocolate Money Facts - Cacao trees offer limited yields

One cacao tree produces 400 to 1,200 cocoa beans per year, or 20 to 30 pods each year. It takes around 400 cocoa beans to create one pound of chocolate. 

That means a single cacao tree can only produce the equivalent of one to three pounds of chocolate each year. 

Unfortunately, the combination of limited yields and poor economic conditions have led farmers to expand their farmland into protected forests. In the last 50 years, these pressures have caused the Ivory Coast to lose an estimated 80% of its forests. 

8. The world’s most expensive chocolate bar cost $687

Back in 2001, the most valuable chocolate bar ever sold fetched the price of $687. The chocolate bar was four inches long. 

But the size wasn’t what was important. The famous chocolate bar had accompanied Captain Robert Scott’s Discovery expedition in 1901 to the Antarctic. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the slightly dusty chocolate bar holds the title for the most expensive chocolate bar. 

9. Americans spent more money on chocolate during the pandemic

According to Nielsen data, Americans spent $3.7 billion on chocolate in a 17-week period. The study found that there was an increase of 6.3% from the previous year. 

Perhaps chocolate served to help with stress relief while at home during a difficult time? Whatever the reason, chocolate sales soared

10. Americans spend around $2.4 billion on chocolate for Valentine’s Day

10 Surprising Chocolate Money Facts - Americans spend around $2.4 billion on chocolate for Valentine’s Day

Americans spend big on chocolate for Valentine’s Day. In 2020, consumers spent around $2.4 billion on chocolate to celebrate the day. That’s an expensive holiday treat!


Chocolate has been a favorite treat of people everywhere since its discovery (and for good reason!) Along the way, the market for chocolate has continued to grow and is likely to keep growing.

Take the time to celebrate National Chocolate Day with a sweet treat!

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