Easter logistics – the art of shipping chocolate

Easter Egg TruckIn the UK the chocolate Easter egg market is worth over £220 million, and we are ranked 4th in the world per capita for our chocolate consumption. So the worldwide market for Easter eggs is enormous.

This is far too many for one Easter bunny to deliver!

The supply chain cycle of the chocolate Easter eggs began about 8 months ago. Cocoa pods were transported from farms and plantations in South America and West Africa to be dried and fermented, ground and roasted. Once graded the cocoa beans are transported to the UK via airfreight. So all those long haul Winter sunshine flights will have been carrying Easter chocolate as well as holiday makers!

Once in the UK the chocolate is palletised and transported in refrigerated lorries, this allows the chocolate to be loaded in bulk whilst ensuring its protected from humidity, moisture and odour. The ideal shipping temperature for chocolate is around 55 degrees. Air circulation in the lorries ensures the appearance and quality of the chocolate is not compromised.

This all takes place before moulding, finishing, decorating and packaging. The eggs are then stored in refrigerated warehouses up and down the UK.

Finally the finished products are distributed to shops and supermarkets as early as January and are usually available on the shelves fairly soon after Christmas…

Which certainly fits in with the statistics. The average Brit devours 8.4 kilos of chocolate per year, perhaps we are a nation of chocoholics after all!

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