The Cost of Cocoa: examines the cocoa market



“With demand for cocoa increasing around the world and countries such as China and India begin to develop the taste for chocolate, how to make sure that there is sustainable cocoa production is the issue in the world of chocolate,” says Chantal Coady of Rococo Chocolates.  Her company have approached the issue of sustainably sourcing cocoa by building up a close relationship with the Grenada Chocolate Company. “Rising cocoa prices are an issue for everyone, but we’ve always paid way above the market price for the cocoa from our sister company in Grenada. Even if you do pay more for cocoa, it’s often only a small component in the cost of the final product.”

Rococo’s special close relationship with the Grenada Chocolate Company goes back some years. “We’d been buying from them for a couple of years, when I went to visit them in 2004,” explains Coady. “The relationship had been supplier and customer. Meeting them directly, it changed and we became friends with the company’s founders Mott, Edmond and Doug.”  Natural disaster struck, however, when first Hurricane Ivan hit Grenada later that year, then, within a year, Hurricane Emily caused devastation to Grenada’s cocoa crop. “We wanted to help as much as we could,” says Coady. “Out of the tragedy came the opportunity to buy this small 9-acre cocoa farm, part of a cocoa co-operative, which we run as Grococo, a joint venture with Grenada Chocolate Company producing fairly traded, organic Trinitario beans.”

A key point of difference for Coady about Grococo is that not only are the cocoa beans grown on the farm, but that these beans are then transformed into chocolate at source. “The bars are produced in a small factory next to the plantation where the cocoa beans are grown,” she explains. “What they’re doing – growing cocoa and making their own chocolate – is very unusual. It’s so challenging making chocolate in the tropics. They use solar energy, which is great. It’s good quality chocolate, made from Trinitario beans. We sell their bars direct and we also buy large bars and melt them down to produce our in-house range of bee bars and our in-house hot chocolate, so it’s quite a substantial element of our business”

Maintaining this relationship requires time and travel, “We visit once a year, Mott comes to England and we use Skype a lot! Agriculture had been in decline on Grenada so it’s great to see the people there taking pride in what they’re growing. We’ve learnt a huge amount about cocoa through this relationship and they’ve learnt from us too, about things like marketing and packaging.”

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