Chocolate is the most enjoyed treat nowadays. As an imported good, chocolate was seen as a luxury product for many decades,but it is now more accessible to anyone in Europe. Cocoa was first cultivated in Central America and is now also produced in Africa and Asia. Cocoa trade has increased over the years and manysouthern countries such as the Ivory Coast, Ghana or Nigeria now rely on the export of cocoa beans in their economies. The leading European chocolate producers are Belgium, France, Germany and UnitedKingdom.
Directive 73/241 EEC
In the EU, chocolate products and cocoa are regulated by the Directive 73/241 EEC, which was first introduced in 1973. It concerns the composition as well as themanufacturing or labelling of chocolate products. The use of vegetable fats was then prohibited for most countries except for Denmark, Ireland and the UK. The same countries differed on the allowance of milk inmilk chocolate (20% to 14% in other countries).
In 1983, there was a consensus over the need for harmonization of chocolate products in the EU which was rejected until the revision of the directivein 1996. It was allowed that 5% vegetable oil could be added to chocolate products, providing that it was mentioned on the label.
Impact of the revision of the directive 73/241 EEC
This revisionaffects all EU chocolate producers. It affects commercial interests of “Chocolate purists” countries such as France or Belgium as they produce more expensive products not made with substitutes. Theymay therefore face a drop in sales. Those countries also want to preserve chocolate and protect its name. According to them, chocolate containing vegetable fat should not be called chocolate.
Othercountries such as the UK or Denmark may benefit from this revision as it enables them to sell their chocolate in all EU countries.
Most EU’s cocoa beans are imported from West African countries...