Of the 150 million chocolate Santa Clauses made annually in Europe, most are produced in Germany and Austria.
"Compared to 2016 that is an increase of about 1%. Based on an average size of 0.025 square meters per figure, this is more than 3,750,000 square meters, which is roughly 1.8 times the size of the Principality of Monaco,“ said Marika Knorr, deputy executive director, EAFA.
Aside from aesthetics, the chocolate hollow figures wrapped in colorful aluminum foil give the products an iconic look and offer protection from light and other external factors that effect food quality.
Knorr added the deadfold effect of the aluminum foil means it can be wrapped tightly around the product offering protection in the supermarket and other points of sale until consumed.
“After that the aluminium foil can move on to its next life when properly collected and recycled. In Germany the average recycling rate of aluminium packaging is 87%, according to DAVR (Deutsche Aluminium Verpackung Recycling),” she said.
Wrapping chocolate in foil derives from an old tradition: first with solid chocolate Santa Claus figures around 1820 then 20 years later with hollow figurines, popular today.
US, Australia, Japan
Many European packaging companies have a long history of producing printed foil and film for Santa Clauses, Easter bunnies and other chocolate figures.
The patented method involves aluminium foil being produced industrially and then rolled.
In addition to Europe, many Santas are exported to the US, Australia and Japan.
EAFA is an international body representing companies in the rolling and rewinding of alufoil and in the manufacture of aluminium closures, alufoil semi-rigid containers and flexible packaging.