Title: A Brief Economic History of Chocolate
Authors: Poelmans, Eline
Swinnen, Jo
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Host Document: The Economics of Chocolate pages:11-42
Article number: 2
Abstract: This article reviews cocoa and chocolate production, consumption and the industrial organization of chocolate making throughout history. Today, the cocoa and chocolate market exists out of different products for many different consumers. Most of these consumers can be found in the industrial countries of the world. However, the actual cocoa plant originated and became a monetary medium of exchange for trade as well as a fatty, dark concoction in South and Central America centuries ago under the Olmecs, Mayas and Aztecs (3000 BC-1500 AC). After the Spanish discoveries of the New world, the cultivation of cocoa beans and the consumption and production of drinkable chocolate spread over the world during the Early Modern Times (1500-1800). In the age of Enlightenment (18th century) this drink of the clergy and elite became rather unpopular. However, globalization and scientific discoveries from the 16th through the 19th century transformed the cocoa and chocolate industry and increased demand under the elite, inducing the growth of commercial factories. New scientific discoveries in the 19th and 20th centuries, which led to eatable chocolate, made chocolate also available for the common people. The 20th century was characterized by a large increase in cocoa and chocolate production and consumption, and shifts in production regions and consumption patterns and preferences.
ISBN: 9780198726449
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IHb
Appears in Collections:Research Centre for Globalization, Innovation and Competition, Campus Brussels (-)
Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) - miscellaneous
Research Center of Development Economics, Leuven
Department of ECON-CEDON, Campus Brussels

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