Till few years back chocolate products in India were primarily meant for the consumption of children. Since the mid ‘90s, chocolates began to get popularity among the adult population in urban India.
Today, the growth of modern retail is giving an impetus to the adult chocolate consumption in the country. With wide range of locally made and imported chocolate brands visible on retail shelves and large population travelling abroad and getting exposed to world of chocolates, Indians are now getting more aware and thus engaging more with chocolate.
Chocolates are known for their rich, sweet lingering taste. The next stage in the evolution in the consumption of chocolates in urban India was the graduation of chocolate products into gift items in celebrations and festivities. This trend coalesced during the first decade of the twenty-first century.
In urban India, the concept of gifting chocolate products instead of traditional mithais, especially during festive occasions is becoming popular. This could be because of the relatively longer shelf life of chocolates as compared to traditional mithais and the ease of delivery that chocolate products can offer along with novelty, which the traditional sweets do not generally offer.
Paral le l to the trend of chocolate products being used in celebrations, the trend which is gaining in developing Indian chocolate market is that chocolate products boost energy or satiate hunger. They also supply nutrients and work even as medicine.
Handcrafted and customised chocolates are gaining currency in the upper echelons of urban Indian society in a big way. Now one’s imagination can be reflected in chocolates, which can enhance the celebratory mood in birthdays and festivities.
The Health Factor
But there is also a stigma attached to chocolates. People believe that chocolates affect your health adversely. However, any chocolate connoisseur will tell that this confectionery whose appeal transcends age groups and geographies can uplift your mind and your spirit; in a way very few foods can. Many researchers, which include nutritionists, food scientists and cardiologists, have shown that chocolate is good for your body.
The sweet taste of finished chocolates is contrasted by their bitter origins. And the wonderful present of chocolates is complemented by their fascinating history. The chocolates of the world owe their birth to the cocoa beans, which are dried and fully fermented fatty seeds of the cacao trees. The seeds of cacao tree are intensely bitter in taste. The cultivation of cacao can be traced back to around 1100 BC. The tropical rainforests of South America, Mexico and Central America have been the traditional cultivators of cacao tree.
Though the commercial production of chocolates is a twentieth-century happening, the history of chocolates dates much beyond a mere hundred years. The knowledge of chocolate’s health benefits is not new. The ancient Aztecs discovered a ‘divine drink’, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of the refreshing and nourishing drink, made by crushing the seeds of the Theobroma cacoa tree, permitted a man to walk for a whole day without food. Thus the idea that chocolate is bad for health seems to be a misconception.
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