Last month, I placed an online order for 70 percent, single origin chocolate from Bolivia. A couple of weeks later, three carefully wrapped tablets arrived at my home, each costing approximately $10. This was hardly an impulse purchase and the experience was completely different than buying a chocolate bar from my local convenience store. After sharing the bars with family members, we discussed the unique flavors and smoothness, and unique attributes of the different chocolates.
My cousin asked me a reasonable question: Why did these bars cost so more than mass-produced chocolate?
His query brings to mind this recent The Huffington Post article that well explains the cost dynamics. First of all, smaller batches of beans which have been carefully grown, fermented and dried by cocoa farmers demand a premium price. Fine chocolate companies also use other quality ingredients without substitutes. Finally, artisan chocolate takes longer to make.
Now, this pricing makes sense to me (and no doubt to those of you reading this.) As a consumer, I also like the fact that fine chocolate companies are directly sourcing from farmer groups or know the origins of all their ingredients. And of course, the quality and flavor makes it well worth the extra cost -- similar to paying for specialty coffee or wine. (Make sure to read Ecole Chocolat Founder Pam Williams’ insights on this topic in this issue’s Member Spotlight.)
I bring all this up because it speaks to underlying needs that are driving the implementation of our new five-pillar strategy, a key component of which is to help spread the word about our industry through smart education and outreach to consumers, legislators, and NGOs.
To that end, I’m pleased to announce the formation of two new FCIA Committees.
In addition to our Education/Events Committee, we have recently added a Communications/Market Research Committee and Cocoa Supply Chains/Partnerships Committee. These committees are open to qualified members who have the time and expertise to participate in conference calls once every other month. For more information on how to join a committee, please contact me.