Picture the scene: you’re home alone on Wednesday night when suddenly there’s an unexpected knock on the front door. You open, sheepishly, only to find an assortment of tiny witches, zombies, devils, ghosts and Harry Potters with their hands out…and then the fear really sets in – you’ve forgotten the lollies.The celebration of Halloween in Australia is a relatively modern concept, with more and more families (and children of all ages) now getting into the spooky spirit each year. Woolworths, for example, has stated that they expect to sell nearly a quarter of a million kilos of Halloween pumpkins this year, more than a 20% increase from 2017.
Aside from pumpkins, the other essential Halloween ingredient is chocolate, and lots of it, and confectionery makers in Australia are now adding Halloween to Easter and Christmas as their peak production periods. However, an increase in chocolate production requires a lot of additional energy usage and the most energy intensive activities in confectionery manufacturing are hot water and boiler systems, cool rooms, cooling towers, cooking systems, and conveying systems.
The manufacture of chocolate and harvesting/transport of cocoa has not always been the most sustainable line of business. According to AgriFutures Australia, ‘In 2011–12, worldwide production of cocoa was approximately four million tonnes, valued at US$2307 per tonne, and over 70% of production was in Africa.’ With the Australian cocoa industry still in its infancy, with only 15-20 hectares under production in far north Queensland, the country remains heavily reliant on chocolate’s essential ingredients travelling a long way to get here. The Sydney Morning Herald previously reported that the three main ingredients in a block of Cadbury’s chocolate have travelled more than 21,000 kilometres (from places like West Africa and Latin America) just to reach Cadbury’s famous Tasmanian factory in Claremont.
Some confectionery manufacturers have made the decision to address their industry’s efficiency question head on. Mars Australia announced in May this year that it will be one of the first food manufacturers in Australia to source the equivalent of 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources. The confectionery giant has partnered a multinational renewable energy company, signing a 20-year power-purchase agreement (PPA), to match the electricity requirements for their six Australian factories with renewable energy sources in regional Victoria.
Mars’ stated objective is to be ‘Sustainable in a Generation’ with plans to reduce greenhouse gasses across their supply chain by nearly 70% within the next three decades.
Of course, none of the above will help you with the army of demanding ghouls at your door – the trick or treat decision is entirely yours! Have a safe and happy Halloween from AEMO.
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