North America's Q3 grind was 131,974 metric tons (MT), up 10% from the same period last year. Cocoa grind data is an indicator of demand for chocolate products in the region.
US dark chocolate appetite
The figures supplied by the NCA come from 17 cocoa processors operating in the US, Canada and Mexico, including Blommer Chocolate, Hershey, Mars and Barry Callebaut.
Before 2009, the NCA only record data from the US.
Market analysts Euromonitor recently said that America was developing a strong appetite for dark chocolate. This may in part explain rising grinds as dark chocolate requires more cocoa to manufacture than milk chocolate.
Asian cocoa grind
Asia's cocoa grind grew 12% to 161,097 MT in Q3, according to the Cocoa Association of Asia.
The region was previously hit by a slowdown in China's economic growth in Q2, but China's GDP grew at the fastest rate so far this year in Q3.
Europe's Q3 cocoa grind figures were released by the European Cocoa Association (ECA) last week. The data showed a 4.7% rise on the same period last year to 331,514 MT.
Cocoa butter prices & supply deficit
The positive grind figures come amid sky-high cocoa butter prices due to adverse weather in the Ivory Coast, the world’s premier cocoa grower.
The ICCO recently told ConfectioneryNews that the next crop year 2013/14 is likely to end with a small deficit that will impact prices.