Global Green Carbon

The Cocoa Market

The cocoa bean is the raw material ingredient for a number of consumer chocolate products. The world production of beans is about 3,300,000 Metric Tonnes (MT) per year which is mostly produced in Africa and Indonesia and sold as ”bulk” commodity products at market exchange prices. In terms of global scale of crop production, cocoa ranks among other key bean and nut commodities and has grown by nearly 7% since 2004. Over the past five years, the price of cocoa overall has increased, spiking in 2008, moderately decreasing in January 2010, and most recently rising to the highest price in 30 years at $3,625/ton. 95% of the worlds cocoa production is sold as bulk cocoa. Only 3-5% is sold as fine or aromatic cocoa which originates from high quality criollo and trinitario cocoa plants. It is estimated that the current level of worlds “fine” cocoa production is between 140,000 to 180,000 MT per year worldwide. Latin America and the Caribbean provide 95% of the fine aromatic cocoa supply, with Asia and Africa accounting for the remaining 5%.

Fine or flavour beans are normally sold at a significant premium on the market due to increased market demand for gourmet chocolate. According to research firm Mintel, retail sales of gourmet chocolate grew 129% between 2001 and 2006, reaching $ 2.05 billion, representing a 13% market share of chocolates. The fine cocoa market is increasing year after year, thanks to health-related benefits that science continues to find in chocolate as the contents of antioxidants (flavonoids) and other beneficial substances to the heart and brain, that improve the people’s emotional state.

Unlike larger industrialized agribusinesses, the vast majority of fine cocoa still comes from family-run small farms who are often confronted with outdated farming practices and limited organizational leverage. With a steady demand from worldwide consumers, there are numerous efforts and funds committed globally to support and improve cocoa farm sustainability based on fine cocoa’s competitive market position which can secure lasting value creation for the rural poor.




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