Easter is the time of year in France when the chocolate sellers make the largest share of their turnover, along with Christmas. The Covid pandemic has not changed the trend.
According to the chocolate makers, the 2021 vintage looks good because the Covid health crisis has increased the French people's appetite for cocoa-based delicacies.
Sales are marked by two strong periods: Christmas and Easter, which represent 15% of annual sales (10.6% and 4.4% respectively in 2019).
Last year, with the lockdown in March and April, which effectively closed all shops except supermarkets, the market decreased by 4% compared to 2019 and the turnover by 27%.
But the French still consumed almost 900 grammes per household. This represents 10,000 to 13,000 tonnes of chocolate in the form of hens, eggs, bells and so on.
In 2020, the chocolate market represented 325,458 tonnes in France with a revenue upward of 3.3 billion euros.
7 kilos of chocolate per year per person
According to the Syndicat du Chocolat figures, France is the sixth largest consumer country, behind Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Over the year as a whole, the French consume on average more than 7 kilos of chocolate per person, compared to 11 kilos per German and around 10 kilos per Swiss.
France has around 115 processing and manufacturing companies, which represents some 30,000 direct jobs.
However, small producers and traders have to compete with each other to attract customers, who are increasingly turning to supermarkets.
They account for 85% of chocolate sales in France today.
With the Covid health crisis, many specialist shops and shop networks have developed internet ordering, click and collect and home delivery services.
This year artisan chocolate makers are hoping sales will be better thanks to a slightly less restrictive lockdown. Residents are able to travel up to 10 kms around their homes, and public parks and gardens remain open, providing perfect opportunities to organise Easter egg hunts.