• Cameron Loyet

The Cost of Craft Chocolate

This sea of Colombian cacao was sourced from Uncommon Cacao in an effort to trace the price paid to the farmers of each origin we feature in our chocolate.

The cost of buying an ethically sourced “bean-to-bar” chocolate compared to a cheaper grocery store bar might seem to be too expensive- but at the heart of the difference in price is a much deeper problem that could potentially wipe out cacao altogether.

The amount of work that goes into a single chocolate bar is truly outstanding. About 90% of the world’s cacao is grown on small family farms. And these farmers make roughly $2 USD per day for their cacao production.The barrier of entry into cacao farming is expensive, long, and not usually rewarding. Each tree takes 3-5 years for a seedling to yield a viable crop- leaving farmers without a viable cacao pod harvest during this time.

Regardless of barriers to entry, the crop that is harvested isn’t always as profitable as other tropical plants such as oil palms. The average price paid per ton for cacao in 2016 was $3,122 USD. In 2018 the average price paid per ton of cacao was $2,300 USD. In a direct reaction to this 25% price decrease, farmers have been switching their crops due to the higher price paid and demand for coconut palm oil. By paying a premium for cacao, we are able to secure a healthy crop all while ensuring our farmers will stay in business for the next year’s harvest.

The picture above is of our Colombian Sierra Nevada beans from Uncommon Cacao which feature transparent trade. Our Colombian farmers were paid 99% more for their crop compared to the average price paid in Ghana + Côte d’Ivoire farmgate pricing in 2018.

From 2012-2019 the US imported 5bn USD of cocoa products. Without cacao farmers this number will ultimately go down. When we pay a premium to support our farmers we find that we are truly able to paint the picture of a chocolate bar that has been created by many- not just Honeymoon.