Yes, that chart isn’t good news! The futures price (what chocolate buyers are committed to pay for chocolate in the future) has rocketed from about £1600 per tonne to £2430 today. That’s a 51% increase over the last twelve months. At Easter I thought that Hotel Chocolat and Cadbury’s had put up their prices by a good 15%-20% over the previous year, but we could be set for an even larger increase in time for all those chocolate Christmas gifts this winter. It’s not good news indeed.
Another thing I’m sure I noticed was that Cadbury reduced their cocoa content in their milk chocolate products from 23% to 20% this year. I could be wrong, but the trend is backed up by the International Cocoa Organization who said:
“Cocoa prices have been following an upward trend since about October 2006 due to cocoa supply deficits. Some chocolate companies have modified their recipes, including less cocoa, and/or reduced the size of the portions and/or increase the price of the products.”
There’s a huge shortage of supply of cacao and couverture. The ICCO believe that there’s a 69,000t shortfall – that’s huge. In fact that’s a whole three times the production of the Dominican Republic each year. Let’s hope that countries such as Cuba, Haiti, Vietnam, Colombia, Western Samoa and the Fiji Islands can start to contribute significantly more cacao in the near future – all we’ll start to see prices raise further.
My fear is that the huge confectionary companies will be putting more pressure on The Ivory Coast and Ghana, which produce 60% of the world’s supply to contribute even more with added pressure on local smallholders. Whereas I feel we should be giving these smaller producers more of our chocolate spend to get them a greater incentive to reinvest. At least the higher prices are good news for subsistence farmers struggling to feed their families.
Data from BBC