National Chocolate Day give us Chocolate charts and sweet statistics

Chocolate, sweets and other confectionary are the go-to comfort foods for a lot of people, the top treat we reach for when we've had a bad day. Or a good day, come to that. As October 28this National Chocolate Day, this seems the perfect moment to take stock of some chocolate charts and sweet statistics about the sugary goodness we all love and crave so much...

Every year the world eats around 7.2million metric tonnes of the stuff, with 90million pounds purchased for Halloween alone. Across the planet, around $7billion a year is spent on chocolate and the largest producer, Mars, has net sales of over $17billion per annum.

When you think chocolate, perhaps the first country to spring to mind is Switzerland. The mountainouse home of pyramid-shaped Toblerone bars and the Lindt chocolate company, the Swiss are a nation of chocoholics and lead the way when it comes to chocolate consumption per capita. The average Swiss person eats just under 20lbs/9070g of the sweet stuff every year - that's about the equivalent of two bags of sugar or the weight of a toddler.

In second place, the average German consumes about 17.4lbs/7,890g every year. Here's how the top ten sticky fingered nations stack up in terms of pounds per captia consumed each year...

It's interesting to note that the majority of the top ten are European countries, and half of the world's chocolate sales take place within Europe.

Chocolate consumption is, in some respects, a little like meat consumption - as nations develop and their citizens become more affluent, people are more likely to buy those items once considered expensive little luxuries. Those living on the wealthies continents gobble up the most chocolate, while those in Africa - where most of the cocoa used to make our sweet trreats is grown - consume just 3.28% of global chocolate consumption. Here's a nice little chart to show which continents have the sweetest tooth, according to the percentage of the world's chocolate they consume:

And while we may think of chocolate as a naughty pleasure which goes straight to our hips, there's a little bit more than just calories to feel guilty about - of the $1 trillion profits the chocolate industry has made over the past fifteen years, only 0.0075% has been put back into improving working conditions for the Ivory Coast and other West African cocoa labourers.

If that's a bitter pill to swallow, we can sugar it slightly by pointing out that UK citizens eat £37.5million of Fair Trade chocolate every year - while it's not a huge figure, it is nevertheless a good start in ensurig the people who make the nation's favourite vice are paid a reasonable wage for keeping us all sweet.