Our $185.7m chocolate haul

Saturday, March 16, 2013 Permalink

Anyone who’s read my blog around Christmas knows that Easter is my favourite time of year.

Christmas Schmistmas. For me it’s all about Easter and the chocolate. I know there was originally a meaning to the celebration but for most of us it’s been lost in the excitement of chocolate bunnies, eggs and the occasional Humpty Dumpty.

Although I can appreciate expensive (decent) chocolate, for me, nothing goes past our Red Tulip brand of chocolates here in Oz – which only seem to be available at Easter.

Because I’m choosing not to eat chocolate at the moment, I haven’t bought any eggs yet. Usually by now I’ve started indulging, before going all-out on the eggs for sale AFTER Easter has come and gone. You have to start early though, as there’s often a danger of missing out on your favourites.

So, you can appreciate how perplexed I was when I heard that this year, Australians will spend $185.7 million on Easter chocolate (an increase of 5.2% from last year). Now obviously I’m all for chocolate; Yay for chocolate is what I say. But almost $200m… that’s ridiculous?! There are only 23 million people in Australia. That’s a lot of chocolate per person (particularly given that many are too poor – or healthy – to indulge!).

When confronted with such figures I cannot but help feel guilty. On behalf of the Red Tulip (caramello egg and bunny) loving-me and my fellow compatriots. And I’m sure other developed (first-world) countries are no different (less so those where the majority of the population celebrate other religions of course!).

It occurs to me that for $200m we could provide A LOT of medical supplies to refugee camps in the horn of Africa, clean water could be provided to those in central Africa and income generating projects could be funded in Myanmar or Nepal. Or if you want your money to remain close to home, in 2011 there were 105,237 homeless people in Australia and medical research organisations are always struggling for funding.

Australians will apparently spend $3 billion over the Easter break. Our country’s annual foreign aid budget is $5.2 billion and yet we can manage to blow over half of that in a four-day weekend. What. The. Fuck?!

I don’t want to sound all preachy. Hell, I forgo physiotherapy appointments so I can drink $18 bottles of quaffing wine (Taylor’s Cabernet Sauvignon, in case you’re interested!). I believe individuals have the right to decide how best to spend their money.

But it should give us pause for thought. What if we cut our Easter Egg spending by half? What if WE went without, just buying treats for the children in our lives. We could do something else with the money we save: donate to a charity or buy better wine.

It’s definitely worth thinking about. Isn’t it?



  • Jess
    March 17, 2013

    Wow that is astronomical isn’t it!?! So much money on chocolate and over Easter!!! We do have the best chocolate though, I’ve spent a few Easters in the US and their chocolate is disappointing!

    • Debbish
      March 17, 2013

      I can never explain what it is about Red Tulip chocolate that I love. I think it’s made by Cadbury so cannot understand why their other chocolates aren’t the same… and I know it’s supposed to be cheaper. But it’s yummier. I can’t stand those other cheap brands you find in supermarkets though. Blech!

  • Char
    March 17, 2013

    I’ve been involved with giving ‘on behalf’ before. We’ve sometimes given things like goats and chickens and pigs to people in Africa rather than giving gifts to people who already have so much. It’s one of those things that make you feel a bit warm and fuzzy inside.

    • Debbish
      March 18, 2013

      Yes, my brother and SIL used to request money for World Vision donations for Christmas each year. My mum also does it on behalf of friends for their birthdays etc.

  • Neen
    March 17, 2013

    That figure makes me sick. The world is nutz. People in some parts are dying of starvation and yet we spend big on chocolate? Sick.

    • Debbish
      March 18, 2013

      Yes Neen, like I said in the post… I’m all for chocolate but I heard the figure on the radio when I was driving around the other day and could not believe it. I got home and googled it and discovered it to be true. *Sigh*

  • Karen
    March 19, 2013

    The sad thing is really it isn’t just Easter chocolate we spend ridiculous amounts of money on!

    Valentine’s day (love is so not a bunch of flowers that goes from costing $20 to closer to $100), Christmas (okay totally guilty here but I gave all my family a world vision card this year that donated something useful like school supplies or immunisations to try and balance it a bit), and firework displays that have six figure budgets all come to mind.

    Wouldn’t it be a very different world if we didn’t forget the “sharing” we teach our preschoolers – ” you get what you get and you don’t get upset” and “sharing is caring” are lessons a few too many of us forget as adult, instead replacing it with a ” what’s in it for me” approach.

    Congratulations on a thought provoking post !

    • Debbish
      March 20, 2013

      Thanks Karen. I too have a big issue with fireworks. I understand why some see them as important (a celebration of community yadda yadda yadda), but when I worked in East Timor I remember a conversation about whether the UN would arrange fireworks for New Year’s or Independence Day etc and it was decided it was inappropriate and hypocritical given so many East Timorese still had limited access to healthcare and secure housing.


  • Kulwant Singh
    March 20, 2013

    Very pertinent points made by you. Nice post.

  • Gwen
    March 20, 2013

    We definitely (almost) all need to consume less. And give more. Absolutely!

    • Debbish
      March 20, 2013

      I’m actually thinking of going without chocolate eggs this year which would be a miracle – my first in 45 years. But… I’ll see. Either way my consumption will be limited!

I'd love to hear your thoughts