our love affair with chocolate

In the UK we have always had a passionate love affair with chocolate and it’s showing no signs of cooling off.

Revenue in the Confectionery segment (chocolate, ice-cream, sugar confectionary and biscuits) amounts to £11billion in 2020, and the market is expected to grow annually by 1.2% for the next 5 years. In terms of the UK population, each person spends £176.70 and consumes 27.1kg each year.

You really do love your chocolate, but why? We know why you love our hand-made luxury Belgian chocolates and we know that you’re going to adore our award winners which will be available for Christmas very soon. But why is chocolate in general so adored by all of us?

Why do we all love chocolate?

Chocolate is up there with our favourite treats on earth. How is it that a small, tropical seed can become such a decadent treat? Chocolate is all about pleasure, and in the right hands, it’s pure magic.

Whether you know it or not, your brain is programmed to see chocolate as a reward. We show our love to our friends and family with chocolate by giving and sharing during celebrations, and we love to reward ourselves with a chocolate treat, even when there isn’t anything to celebrate.

We love chocolate, not only because it’s tasty, but because it releases dopamine in our bodies, that’s the happy hormone that makes you feel good and relaxed. Cacao beans also have caffeine, which adds up to the hype. When combining the love affair generated by our brains, the effects the cacao bean has on our body, and a good helping of sugar, it’s no surprise chocolate is a pick-me-up snack and a mood-booster.

Chocolate is good for us

The good old cacao bean is also a wonderful source of antioxidants that can protect our bodies and bloodstreams. This means a healthy circulatory system and heart. But health benefits are not just physical.

During the pandemic we have all had to adjust habits and routines in our daily lives. We aren’t able to share our love and emotion in the same way, we’re reducing contact with everyone around us, and it’s all having a huge impact on our mental health. Giving treats to ourselves with chocolate is rewarding, and stimulates the mind. That pick-me-up mentioned earlier isn’t just a short term fix, it feeds the brain, and in a small way way helps us get through these difficult times.

We eat chocolate with our eyes

Chocolatiers like us here at Langleys are very aware that presentation is just as important as taste. Chocolate is not only tasty but also looks good. Add to that clever packaging, and our love affair with chocolate gets deeper.

But how much of your chocolate buying is based on taste, and how much is based on the shininess of its packaging? A recent study at the University of Melbourne backs up what we’ve long suspected – the way chocolate is packaged creates a stronger emotional pull than what it actually tastes like. And while the chocolate we buy in the future is mostly dependent on how it tastes, the research suggests, how we perceive that taste on our tongue is influenced to some extent on the way the treat was wrapped up.

In the study, even though the chocolate taste ended up as the biggest influence on which bar the volunteers would buy in the future, how it’s presented definitely plays a part – which is something to bear in mind the next time you’re out shopping.

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