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Dispatches from the World Cocoa Conference 2014

‘We can afford to increase the price of chocolate,’ says ICCO executive director

If consumers were charged 3% more for a chocolate bar, they would still pay: ICCO
If consumers were charged 3% more for a chocolate bar, they would still pay: ICCO

Manufacturers can increase the price of chocolate without fear of putting off consumers thus ensuring cocoa farmers are fairly paid, according to executive director of the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO).

Speaking at the World Conference 2014 in Amsterdam today, Jean-Marc Anga said: “We can afford to increase the price of chocolate. If the price was to increase 3%, I would not stop buying it.”

Anga said that if the industry was serious about improving farmers’ income, then increasing the price of chocolate was the simplest way, adding that it would need to be managed by PR to ensure consumers understood why.

Farm gate price and chocolate sales compared

In his presentation, Anga showed that value sales for chocolate confectionery amounted to $109.3bn in 2012/13, while the farm gate value of cocoa production stood at $5.9bn during the same period.

This meant farmers were getting a lower cut than they were a decade ago. The 2012/13 farm gate price represented around 5% of chocolate confectionery sales – a far smaller proportion compared to 31% levels in 1999/00.

Downsizing alternative

Anga said that consumer demand would be unaffected by modest price increases.

Another option, he said, was to keep the same price but downsize products. He said that consumers were unlikely to notice modest size decreases.

Manufacturers also have cocoa alternatives and emulsifiers at their disposal to reduce the impact of rising cocoa prices. “The industry is well-equipped to deal with high prices,” said Anga

The ICCO chief said that encouraging farmers to find alternative sources of income through multicropping would ensure the future of cocoa growing. We will explore the rest of Anga’s presentation in future articles.

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