EnvironmentFact Check

Do you know how much water is needed for making a chocolate bar?

Do you know how much water is needed for making a chocolate bar?

Chocolate enhances our spirit, but the process of making chocolate bars contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Food production is generally the cause of some emissions, but making chocolate bars has a special focus. Even more so during  World Environment Day

Cacao cultivation and deforestation

 Chocolate is made from cocoa, a raw version of cocoa, one of the most profitable cash crops in the world. To earn more, farmers in many countries, especially in West Africa, rely on large-scale deforestation for cocoa plantations, and this change in land use is increasing the overall global warming potential. increase. In addition, according to an article in the World Economic Forum, at least 1,000 litres of water are needed to make a bar of chocolate amid a total crisis.

The use of disposable plastics in the manufacture of packaging also contributes to the suffering of the planet. A World Economic Forum  (WEF) report recently revealed that plastics dominate marine debris, 9.1% of which is the packaging.

 Indian scenario

 In 2018, the WEF called India “one of the fastest-growing chocolate markets.” As of 2021, there are 10 multinational companies in the cocoa industry in the country. India earns 1,108 rupees worth of foreign currency from the export of cocoa beans and their products. However, according to the government, “current domestic production of cocoa beans is not enough to meet the demands of the industry”, so India imported “most of the needs from other cocoa-growing countries worth Rs 2,021”.

In India, cocoa is cultivated in Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu with an area of ​​1,03,376 hectares (ha) with a total production of 27.72 million tonnes. However, a 2018 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that India is one of the “top three emitters” when it comes to agricultural emissions. There were also two other countries, Brazil and Indonesia.

 Can you love chocolate as much as you love the environment?

Some brands are trying

 Saying no to chocolate is not the solution. So should you join some of the beginners in the conscious chocolate movement? Let’s take a look at what some small brands are doing in turn. Cocoatrait, co-founded by Nitin Chordia, claims to be “the first luxury and sustainable chocolate brand in the world and India, waste-free, single source, organic and environmentally friendly”. increase. Chodia, the first certified chocolate taster in India, said he has confirmed that the cocoa used in the brand is not grown on deforested lands.

 Kocoatrait was co-founded by Nitin Chodia. He also chose to buy cocoa from Chennai, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh instead of importing it. “First, you can get certified organic cocoa in India. Second, you can be sure that you are not buying from a farmer who cuts trees to grow cocoa. Third, minimize transportation. You can, “he says.


But are there any areas where Cocourt Light is still environmentally friendly? “We shouldn’t think about solving the world’s problems. Chocolate is shipped in boxes made of recycled paperboard and printed on our own to save paper. But You still have to use plastic cellophane tape, “Nitin said.  “We start talking to tape makers and start buying harmless tapes. There are several cornstarch-based tapes in development, but they are all still in the testing phase.

Nevertheless, it might take a year or two,” he said. Kocoatrait isn’t the only one that is making sustainable chocolates.  Rajasthan-based company All Things claims to use only direct-trade cacao. “We only purchase directly from farmers or by purchasing through fair price cooperatives.”  Cacao is cultivated under ethical and sustainable conditions by experienced Indian farmers with a great deal of knowledge and attention.

“Cocoa is grown as a cover crop with coconut, nutmeg, pepper and bananas to create a mixture of interdependent fauna,” said another chocolate brand, Socklet. Say there. Even the largest companies in the industry are beginning to think more about the planet, such as encouraging direct transactions, small lots, and supporting farms that grow cocoa. The consumption of chocolate might still contribute to environmental degradation, but sweet lovers must remember that at the end of the day, “every drop counts.”.

Most food items and drinks are produced to use and pollute a certain amount of water – not only in the processing stage but also along the whole value chain. For previous Christmases, we have reviewed the water-related impacts of fish and turkeys. As we approach Christmas, let’s explore the role of water in the production of beer, chocolate and potato crisps – three things that would brighten up any party.

Behind the boozy scenes…

 Can you tell me how much water is used in the production of beer? The Water Footprint Network estimates the total water footprint of 298 litres per litre of beer. This means that you may need up to 170 litres of water to make a  pint of beer (0.57 litres). Over 90% of this water footprint comes from growing the necessary crops (such as barley). The remaining water footprint is distributed to other manufacturing stages such as breweries. To date, there is no comprehensive analysis of the water footprint of Chinese beer. However, by assuming that brewery processes account for the remaining 10% of water use, not related to agriculture, a total footprint can be estimated.

Beer production in China in 2015 is estimated to be about 2.6 trillion litres.

 In China, the average water footprint of a brewery in 2013 was about 5.5 litres per litre of beer produced. Based on this, the total water footprint of Chinese beer is at least 55 litres of water per litre of beer. This is equivalent to about 30 litres of water per pint of beer. This is the amount needed for a shower for approximately 3 minutes. Given that China produced 47.2 billion litres of beer in 2015, it can be further estimated that at least 2.6 trillion litres of water were used in China’s beer value chain that year.

Beer is becoming more and more popular in China 

 Also, beer (and alcohol in general) is becoming more and more popular in China. Between 2009 and 2013,  per capita, beer consumption increased from 30.2 litres/year to 34.2 litres/year. In comparison, the world’s per capita beer consumption is only 33 litres/year. However, domestic absolute beer production

has declined since 2013, when beer production was 50.6 billion litres. Nevertheless, China is still one of the world’s leading beer producers. Given the current water shortage, can this be maintained?

 Chips and Chocolate: A treat with water


 How about the snacks we eat? Highly processed foods such as potato crisps and chocolate tend to consume a lot of water. In terms of water footprint, potato crisps are responsible for approximately 925 litres of water per kg. Water is used the most in growing potatoes, as you might expect. During the potato crisp production process, additional water is required to clean the potatoes, produce cooking oil for deep-frying, manufacture packaging, and the like.  Only 28% of consumers in China snacked on crisps in 2012 – room to grow

 In 2012, China produced 81,500mn kg of potato crisps, a 15.1% increase from 2005. Increasing demand from the country’s population may further drive production and associated water consumption. In 2012, only 28% of Chinese consumers ate potato chips, while the proportion in France and the United States is much higher at 86%.

Even more alarming is the total water footprint of chocolate, which uses more than 17,000 litres of water per kg. For comparison, the water footprint for producing 1 kg of beef (a notorious water user) is about 15,000 litres. This large footprint is primarily due to the water needed to grow cocoa beans. The big water footprint of chocolate production is not limited to China-mainly in cocoa-growing countries

 China is not the main producer of cocoa, so it does not bear the brunt of water pollution. However, China produced 397 million kg of chocolate in 2015. Chocolate production in this country also does not seem to slow down, with annual growth of more than 10% between 2011 and 2015. Most of the total water footprint is not of Chinese origin, but the world water footprint from the manufacture of this snack is worth it. More credits.

Wastewater discharge additionally trouble – 1L of beer produces 2.five-10L of brewery wastewater in China

Further tainting the jolly temper is wastewater discharge, which is likewise troubling to consider. The water utilized by breweries to make beer can’t be discharged and returned to the environment. Brewery wastewater typically includes excessive sugar and alcohol content, a low pH and excessive temperatures. In China, making 1 litre of beer produces 2. five to ten litres of brewery wastewater on average.

 “Fermentation industries” as an entire accounted for 2.3% of China`s general wastewater discharge in 2013. Wastewater is likewise generated at chocolate factories because of operations inclusive of cleaning, roasting, grinding and mixing. In general, the production of “foods, wine, beverages and subtle teas” in China became chargeable for discharging 1.3bn tonnes of business wastewater in 2014.

There isn’t any want to show into Scrooge even though

There is, however, room for pleasure and optimism. There are ongoing tries to lessen the water use and wastewater discharge of the meals and beverage enterprise. Recently, researchers in Colorado have discovered a manner to apply wastewater from brewing beer to supply lithium-ion battery electrodes. Also, huge beer corporations have made actions to enhance their water use efficiency. The water-to-beer ratio of Budweiser brewing factories in China has declined for 5 years in a row. In 2014, they produced 1 litre of beer with the handiest 3.1 litres of water, 46% much less than what became wished in 2009.

Water use efficiency & wastewater remedy answers are getting extra widespread


Efforts also are obtrusive withinside the chocolate enterprise. In overdue 2014, Mars Chocolate opened a brand new anaerobic wastewater remedy plant, the primary of its type in Europe. The methane era used purifies 99% of wastewater even through an organic process, even as the biogas launched generates electricity to assist energy the onsite chocolate factory.

Food and drink assist to create a festive ecosystem for a time like Christmas. But as is frequently with the satisfied times, traumatic results can be lurking simply across the corner. More interest ought to be afforded to the quantity of water this is used now no longer handiest with the aid of using generating beer, crisps and water, however with the aid of using the meals and beverage enterprise as an entire.

This is mainly pertinent given China`s water demanding situation and the more and more wealthy diets of its population. If we’re to revel in many extra merry Christmases, we ought to hold tackling the water dangers embedded in our food and drinks.

edited and proofread by nikita sharma

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