Easter without chocolate bunnies? Unthinkable. According to the BDSI (Association of the German Confectionery Industry), a good 239 million bunnies will be produced in Germany alone in the 2022 season. Of these, 119 million will remain in Germany, while the remaining 120 million chocolate bunnies will be exported. The bunnies are very different: small, large, milk or dark chocolate. But almost all of them have one thing in common - a garment made of aluminium foil. There are good reasons for this, and not just the look.
Aluminium foil gives rabbits character
Aluminium can be rolled into very thin foils - easily much thinner than a human hair. In this form, the material has extraordinary plastic properties. By applying gentle pressure, it clings tightly to contours of all kinds, for example to chocolate Easter bunnies. In combination with a coloured print, chocolate figures with character are created. No wonder that chocolatiers rely on the popular foil to showcase their delicate chocolate art.
But that is not all. "Aluminium foil has numerous advantages as food packaging, from safety to recycling," emphasises Patrick Altenstrasser of the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA).
The individual advantages in detail:
High food safety
As a metal, aluminium forms an absolutely tight barrier against bacteria, germs and sunlight even in thin layers. This protects the product on the supermarket shelf as well as in the morning damp lawn when it is hidden at Easter. At the same time, aluminium foil is literally child's play to remove in order to access the sweet contents.
Tight packaging has a double benefit for chocolate Easter bunnies. Just as germs cannot get to the chocolate from the outside, the material prevents gas exchange between inside and outside.
Why is that important? "Flavours and moisture volatilise in gaseous form," explains Patrick Altenstrasser from EAFA. "Due to the tight packaging, aluminium foil effectively prevents this. As a result, the chocolate stays fresh and edible for a long time." So it doesn't have to be consumed directly on Easter - also good news for all those who had a big bunny in their basket.
Furthermore, aluminium foil is a particularly sustainable material. Once extracted from ores, it can be recycled almost indefinitely. In 2019, more than 90% of aluminium packaging in Germany was recycled.
The aluminium experts have a tip for this: reuse works best if the foil is crumpled up before disposal.
Aluminium foil is lightweight. Two factors come into play here: On the one hand, it is the very thin layer that is literally hardly bulky. In addition, aluminium is a light metal with a much lower density than iron or silver. Even compared to plastic, aluminium foil scores points. This reduces the effort required for transport and thus lowers the energy demand of logistics.
Aluminium foil: a success story for over 100 years
Anyone who gives their children a chocolate bunny for Easter today has probably held a colourful bunny in their hands as a child. The patent for the production of aluminium foil for packaging purposes is over 100 years old. Many of the European manufacturers can therefore look back on a long tradition.
Consumers encounter the sustainable and safe packaging not only at Easter. Chocolate Santas also dress up in glittery garb. By the way, there are slightly fewer of these than chocolate bunnies - in 2018 there were 150 million Santas compared to 220 million bunnies. In addition, there are various trays, foils and outer packaging made of aluminium foil for different purposes.