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Bittersweet flavor: record cocoa makes chocolate more expensive, but the 'boom' will take time to reach producers

Bittersweet flavor: record cocoa makes chocolate more expensive, but the 'boom' will take time to reach producers

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The price per ton of cocoa broke a record this Thursday, it has more than doubled in just one year and has chocolate manufacturers in suspense. However, farmers in Ivory Coast, the world's largest producer, are calling for new pricing policies that make them share in the boom.

As the Easter holidays approach, the lengths to which chocolate lovers are willing to go to get their hands on it are being tested like never before.

With cocoa prices continually breaking records, chocolate makers have had to pass those costs onto consumers as they are forced to juggle quality and affordability to keep their businesses afloat.

Cocoa futures in both New York and London reached record highs this Thursday, March 21. The price of this commodity today exceeds $8,000, three times the $2,800 a year ago, as grain diseases and adverse weather led the global market to a third consecutive annual deficit.


Sugar prices are also rising. One pound futures have risen by around 8% in 2024, after rising 2.7% in 2023.

Edwart Chocolatier is a Paris store that sources most of its chocolate from Southeast Asia and Latin America. But adverse conditions in West Africa, where 70 percent of the world's cocoa is produced, are driving up prices for its inputs.

“We feel the repercussions of this increase in each country from which we obtain the product, be it Papua New Guinea, Venezuela, etc., it has been increasing,” said Juliette Billette de Villemeur, president of the company, while reporting an increase in 15% that their suppliers made this month alone.

In several countries, cocoa producers benefit directly from world market prices. It is difficult to understand why Ivory Coast producers do not do it

A boom that comes late

Farmers from the world's largest exporter feel that they are not part of that 'boom'. The official price per kilogram that each cocoa producer receives in Côte d'Ivoire ranges between 1,000 and 1,500 CFA francs, the currency used in most West African countries. That is, no more than $2,500 per ton.

According to the Ivorian Platform for Sustainable Cocoa (PICD), “in several countries, cocoa producers benefit directly from world market prices. It is difficult to understand why Ivorian producers do not do so.”

The price that Ivorians receive on their farms is updated twice a year, according to the guild. The fixing mechanism “clearly has weaknesses” and needs an overhaul to allow them to benefit in time from higher global prices.

2024 is the second year in a row that cocoa prices have risen, although, for now, the higher prices do not seem to scare away the most devoted buyers. While many chocolate shops have not raised prices for consumers this year, they are finding a remedy to avoid having to do so in the future: selling more chocolate.

With Reuters and AP



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Written by Editor TLN

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