With the holiday season underway, more than 150 million chocolate Santas are expected to be manufactured in Europe alone this year – and almost all wrapped in aluminium foil.
More than 3,750,000 square metres of chocolate will be used to make Santas across Europe, enough to cover the Australian Capital Territory about one and a half times. The Santas will then appear on shelves around the world, including in Australia, wrapped in brightly-coloured aluminium foil.
Marika Knorr, deputy executive director at the European Aluminium Foil Association, says the wrapping is about more than just looks: it also protects the Santas from outside influences that could affect their quality, including light.
“The deadfold effect of the aluminium foil allows the foil to be wrapped tightly around the chocolate product during packaging, and remains so in the supermarket or other points of sale until it arrives at the consumer for the ultimate moment of consumption.
“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 per cent,” she says.
The first solid chocolate Santas date from around 1820, with hollow ones following 20 years after that. The method used to make the aluminium wrapping has been around for a century.