A look on Vancouver’s Chocolate Industry

Chocolate is a super-food; that’s not even up for a debate. If a person feels depressed, they resort to eating chocolates. According to a study, people tend to eat 55% more chocolate when they are depressed compared to when they are not. Furthermore, eating chocolate has been proven to be beneficial to a person’s physical and mental health. In fact, eating chocolates can lower blood pressure since it regulates the body’s blood flow. As a result, it reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. It is also a source of powerful antioxidants which helps cleanse your body and get rid of bad cholesterol.

According to reports, chocolate manufacturing is a massive and competitive industry.  Almost 50 million people depend on chocolate for their living. According to the International Cocoa Organization, in 2015, the top ten chocolate manufacturers in the world had a net sales of approximately $80,000 USD.

In Canada, the industry of commercial chocolate production is being challenged by small-scale chocolatiers. Currently, the biggest market shareholder, Nestlé, holds 19.2% of chocolate sales in Canada. It is notable, however, that small-scale Canadian chocolatiers hold 12.3 % of the market shares—higher that the share of big chocolate manufacturers like Mars (11.2%), Lindt (10.2%), and Ferrero (7.3%).

Among the cities and provinces in Canada, Vancouver’s artisan chocolate industry is the most promising. Artisan chocolaterie is a movement in chocolate manufacturing wherein products are hand-crafted and produced in small batches. It provides people a different way of indulging in this delight apart from those that are commercially manufactured. For artisan chocolatiers, chocolates are not simply food; they are works of art.

For Vancouver chocolatiers, it is very important to focus on the quality of the chocolates as well as the creativity demonstrated in the product. To ensure this, they are hands-on from the moment the cacao beans are harvested, to the moment they are refined and mixed with other ingredients, and until they are packed and bought by the customers.

Moreover, in 2012, locals have spent 69% more on chocolates than they did in 2011.The locals’ support to Vancouver’s chocolate industry is also manifested in their participation in the city’s Annual Hot Chocolate Festival. Now on its 6th year, Vancouver’s chocolatiers exhibit their creativity and unique approach to chocolate-making. You get to experience edgy and creative hot chocolates for one whole month.

And that is the trait of Vancouver chocolates—they are edgy. According to the International Chocolate Awards, Vancouver artisan chocolates incorporate the kind of culture learnt by their community. Since they encounter people from different places, they were able to cultivate a way to create a mix of those and integrate them in their artisan chocolates.

In Vancouver, the artisan chocolate scene is growing and the future for Vancouver chocolatiers look hopeful. More people are being encouraged to invest in the business and more consumers are patronizing their local chocolate products.

The industry is indeed promising. In 1907, the first ever homemade chocolate was sold in Vancouver by Purdys Chocolates. Now, there are approximately 20 world-class artisan chocolatiers in the city; and this number is still growing. According to Thomas Haas, the owner of Thomas Haas Chocolates, more and more small artisan chocolatiers are entering the Vancouver chocolate scene; and as more companies arrive, the better it looks for the market.

This article has been written by Marie Concordia for UBCFoodie.

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