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The Economics of Chocolate$
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Mara P. Squicciarini and Johan Swinnen

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198726449

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198726449.001.0001

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A Brief Economic History of Chocolate

A Brief Economic History of Chocolate

(p.11) 2 A Brief Economic History of Chocolate
The Economics of Chocolate

Eline Poelmans

Johan Swinnen

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews cocoa and chocolate production, consumption, and the industrial organization of chocolate making throughout history. Cocoa production and consumption was, for a long time, restricted to Central America. Centuries after the Spanish discovery of the New World, the cultivation of cocoa beans and the consumption of chocolate spread around the world during the early modern times (1500–1800). Scientific discoveries in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the Industrial Revolution, transformed the cocoa and chocolate industry and increased demand. The 20th century was characterized by a large increase in cocoa production and chocolate consumption, and the emergence of West Africa as the dominant cocoa-producing region. The past 20 years have seen a new boom in demand, this time driven by growth in emerging markets, a growing concentration in global value chains, and the spread of private standards related to sustainability and ethical sourcing.

Keywords:   consumption of chocolate, production of chocolate, science of chocolate, economic history of cocoa/chocolate

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