Whenever market researchers report on UK consumers' favourite purchases, chocolate-based products feature strongly. Chocolate is a key ingredient of many products we enjoy e.g. hot drinks, biscuit snacks, cakes, and confectionery.
To make their products, chocolate manufacturers use recipes that rely heavily on cocoa beans. Cocoa liquor and cocoa butter come from cocoa beans. Chocolate manufacturers buy the cocoa beans, liquor and butter they need on world markets.
Chocolate production and manufacture is a worldwide industry with some interesting characteristics.
- Most chocolate products are eaten far away from where cocoa is grown.
- Cocoa is grown in a small number of tropical countries,which depend heavily on successful production of cocoa to sustain their economies.
- From cocoa bean to finished chocolate product is a long and complex process which raises the question of how all involved in the industry can benefit from the financial returns in a way that is fair to everyone who contributes at the various stages.
The major manufacturing companies in the UK are members of the BCCCA: the Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Association. Based in London, the BCCCA provides a common voice through which UK chocolate manufacturers can express their views. It also enables co-operation between companies on non-competitive issues. One task for BCCCA members is to decide how best to create a sustainable chocolate industry that offers:
- a continual improvement in the quality of chocolate products
- a fair standard of living for cocoa growers
- steady business growth for manufacturing companies.