2018 International Chocolate Awards - Americas Finalists Announced

A record number of entries ... and awards!

I've downloaded the data from the awards page and after cleaning it up, did some analysis. Here are some initial top-line stats.

Total number of entries

Approximately 800. There is a very close correlation between the number of Winners and the number of Grand Jury Finalists - most Grand Jury Finalists go on to win some sort of award.

However, of the 800 entries less than 50% become Grand Jury Finalists. There are two primary reasons for this:

  1. Entries arrive in compromised condition. Ver often this is because of problems that occur during shipping – melting and/or being dropped.
  2. There is a preliminary judging round to weed out entries that are deemed not of sufficient quality to compete.

The difference between the number of entries and the number of winners hides some other data and I am in discussion with the organizers to get some of these numbers. For example, the total number of countries represented by entries is greater (by 3) than the number of countries that win awards. In order to be comprehensive and representative, knowing these numbers is helpful.

Distribution across categories

  • 333 awards were given across 46 categories.
  • There were 314 “regular” awards across 35 categories.
  • There were 19 special awards. 2 Best in competition, 7 National awards (given to countries with ten or more entries in one category), 8 Special jury awards, and 2 MMM (aka Triple M for Maricel, Monica, and Martin) awards.
    All of the following percentage calculations are based on the total number of awards (333) given, not the total number of entries (~800). I will update the calculations when I have more precise numbers.

Distribution by award level

  • 28 regular golds and 17 special golds (45 total for ~14% of all awards)
  • 175 regular silvers (~53%)
  • 111 regular bronze (~33%)
  • 2 special MMM awards (~0.6%)

Distribution of winning makers by country

  • Makers from 13 different countries were awarded
  • USA 142 (~43% of all awards given)
  • Canada 55 (~17%)
  • Peru 43 (~13%)
  • Ecuador 33 (~10%)

Distribution of bean origin

Of the 333 awards given, just 217 (or about ~65%) listed the origin of the beans used.

24 different origins were represented. Peru with 55 followed by Ecuador with 35, then Venzuela with 19, Colombia with 15, and Brazil with 14. Madagascar was way down the pack with 2, tied with Fiji.

This is a fundamentally different distribution of origins from the European Bar competition where the overwhelming favorite origin was Nicaragua. In this competition Nicaragua was named as the origin by 4 different winners, tied with Costa Rica, Honduras, and Tanzania.

Distribution of awards by winning companies

Pacari (Ecuador) was the runaway winner (still yet again) with 27 awards, However unlike as in past competitions, the bulk of their awards (25) were silvers and bronzes. So their presence was felt, but not as overwhelmingly as in the past.

Cacaosuyo (Peru) was next with 15 followed by Dandelion (US) and Soma (Canada) with 12 each. Hummingbird (Canada) was next with 9 awards, and next down the list with 8 each were Franceschi (Venezuela), Forte (US), and Fruition (US).

One of my next projects will be to ask all of the winning makers to provide the country of origin for their beans. These are necessary to developing a deeper understanding of how origins are used in different parts of the world.

Click here to read the story I wrote on the 2018 ICA European Bean-to-Bar awards.

What are your thoughts on these stats?