EghtesadOnline: A total of $450 million worth of chocolate and pastry were exported from Iran during the last fiscal year (March 2019-20).
According to Jamshid Maghazei, the head of Iran's Association of Confectionery, Chocolate and Biscuit Industries, Iraq and Afghanistan are major export destinations for Iranian pastry and chocolate.
Other destinations include the US, Japan, Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States and European countries, especially those of Eastern Europe.
The official explained that the spread of the new coronavirus has dealt a blow to exporters as well as domestic suppliers in the sector.
According to Kaveh Zargaran, an official of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Iran's exports of chocolate and pastry in the fiscal 2018-19 stood at $800 million.
Iran produced 1.7 million tons of pastry and chocolates that year.
“Domestic demand has experienced a 20-30% decline since the virus outbreak began around two months ago. This is because the purchasing power has declined and under the circumstances, chocolate is not considered a priority in the household’s expenditure basket,” Maghazei was quoted as saying by Young Journalists Club.
According to the official, Iran produces 1.7 million tons of pastry and chocolate every year, while its nameplate capacity stands at 2.4 million tons per year.
Per capita consumption of pastry and chocolate in Iran (prior to the coronavirus outbreak) is 21 kilograms per annum.
There are 350 chocolate and pastry production units in Iran.
The city of Tabriz in West Azarbaijan Province is Iran’s chocolate and biscuit production hub and arguably that of the entire Middle East. About half of Iran’s biscuits and chocolates is produced in this northeastern city.
According to Fereydoun Doroudi, a board member of Iranian Confectionery Industries Union, all investments in this industry have been made by the private sector.
Pastry and chocolate account for 30-40% of Iran’s total food exports, according to Secretary of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran's Pastry, Chocolate and Cereal Products Desk Gholamreza Sabz-Ali.
Some 70% of the machinery used in Iran's chocolate and pasty industry are supplied domestically.
Latest data show a total of 754 tons of chocolate worth close to $2.97 million were imported into Iran from 10 countries in the fiscal 2018-19.
Data released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration show Germany was the biggest exporter with 193 tons worth $987,000.
Other major exporters of chocolate to Iran during the period under review were Spain, Italy, the UAE, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, India and Turkmenistan, Mizan Online reported.