Like red lipstick, chocolate is one of those indulgences that people don’t let go of in hard times, including recessions.
Indeed, the worldwide demand for chocolate rises each year. A report by global market research firm Mintel, for instance, showed that from 2007 to 2013, the chocolate confectionery market grew by 19%. The research showed that:
- 89% of people purchase chocolate to spoil themselves or others
- 72% of people sometimes buy it for a mood or energy lift
A Business Day article said the South African retail chocolate market was exceeding the global average. Given that South Africans have more of a sweet tooth than Europeans, it’s not surprising that milk chocolate is the nation’s favourite type. Yet we’re getting more adventurous, as can be seen in the range of unusual variants available, and in the growing demand for premium quality chocolates.
When comparing the three main types of chocolate, how do they fare?
Dark chocolate is semi-sweet or even bitter, depending on the percentage of cacao it contains. By definition, this has to be from 60% upwards. Ingredients are cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, emulsifiers and often flavourings such as vanilla.
Mintel research shows that dark chocolate is gaining in popularity. In 2011, only 33% of consumers claimed to prefer dark chocolate, but the figure grew by 2% in as many years. The majority of those who like their chocolate dark were over 50, perhaps due in part to their increased interest in its health benefits.
Dark chocolate is by far the healthiest, thanks to antioxidants, flavonoids, fibre and minerals like magnesium, iron and manganese (to name a few). Its lower milk and sugar content also means it has less saturated fat and cholesterol than milk or white chocolate.
Milk chocolate, the most common chocolate type, has the same ingredients as dark, but with dry milk solids added. This makes it far creamier, as well as slightly higher in protein and calcium. The percentage per weight is usually at least 10% cocoa liquor and 12% milk solids.
The reason it’s so popular is no doubt its combination of a chocolate taste in a sweet and creamy texture. It melts in the mouth beautifully and gives a quick mood and energy boost.
White chocolate doesn’t have the same cocoa solids that dark or milk chocolate does. It features more cocoa butter and milk fat. The ingredient ratios per weight are a minimum of 20% cocoa butter, 14% milk solids and, at most, 55% sugar.
White chocolate is a dream to those who like a more subtle taste and silky texture. It also makes a perfect dessert ingredient and is a favourite with mothers because it leaves less mess on little fingers and mouths.
For a wide range of high-quality, customised dark, milk and white chocolates that make perfect corporate or hospitality gifts, contact us at Chocolate Time.