But how many shoppers pull down an egg, or two or three, and plop it into their shopping cart? Just how many eggs are consumed in Brazil during the annual Easter-season chocolate orgy? In the age of the internet, it was relatively easy for Flavors of Brazil to find out.
According to chocolate-industry predictions, in Easter season 2012 Brazilians will consume 80 million chocolate Easter eggs. This number is about 10% higher than the totals for 2011, and economists posit that the bulk of the growth is due to the increasing economic power of the lower middle class - those who have moved from poverty levels to middle class in the last decade. This hunger for chocolate makes Brazil the third-largest chocolate market in the world.
This growth in the market comes even at a time in which prices for chocolate Easter eggs is rising much faster than the rate of inflation in Brazil. Prices for Easter eggs in 2012 are expected to be about 9% higher than last year, even though the cost of pure cocoa has fallen more than 4% during the same time period. The increased costs are put down to large increases in the price of sugar and the cost of labor.
Lacta, owned by American food giant Kraft. It expects to sell 27 million eggs this year. In second position, with 20 million eggs sold, is Brazilian chocolate manufacturer Garoto, and in third place, selling under its own brand name is Nestlé, which expects to move 17 million eggs.
One interesting statistic about chocolate Easter eggs shows the huge economic power of Brazil's most populous state, São Paulo. With just over 41 million inhabitants, the state of São Paulo makes up approximately 22% of the total population of the country. But according the the chocolate industry, Paulistas (those who live in the state) will purchase 45% of the Easter eggs produced in 2012.
However you slice these statistics, it's a whole lot of chocolate and sugar, and millions of square feet of shiny foil to wrap them in. But the chocolate Easter egg is thoroughly ensconced in Brazil's Easter iconography, and the continued success of the product is not even slightly in doubt.