Chocolate prices could rise by 20 percent in the next year, however consumers that buy Fair Trade products are less likely to be affected by price hikes.
The recent increases in cocoa prices have placed a dramatic amount of stress on the chocolate manufacturing industry. A 2010-2011 forecast, published August 5 by European market intelligence group Euromontior, states that cocoa prices are now 25 percent higher than they were at their peak in June 2008 when food prices around the world were subject to large price increases.
The rising prices of cocoa beans coupled with a shortage of supply due to adverse weather patterns could push prices up from the predicted 3 percent increase to as much as 6 percent; Euromonitor estimates that if speculation adds to price fluctuations and supply shortages then prices of cocoa beans could even increase by as much as 20 percent in 2011, costs which would then be passed from the manufacturer on to the consumer.
However, ethical chocolate lovers may be less affected. The Fair Trade market, estimated to be worth around $300 million, may not be subject to such dramatic price hikes. Fair Trade products are highly regulated and require close cooperation between chocolate manufactures and the farming communities which produce cocoa beans. The production of Fair Trade chocolate entails fixing a price between the manufacturer and the producer which is considered ‘fair', the manufacturer has to agree to the price beforehand and pay the producer regardless of that final production volume.
Therefore as the price is based not upon market fluctuations but the farmer's welfare needs, Fair Trade Chocolate prices are unlikely to rise.
A 100gm portion of fair trade chocolate currently retails at around €1.80.
Fair Trade products are available from a number of international supermarkets and from the Starbucks coffee chain; a full list of suppliers of Fair Trade products and recipes using Fair Trade products including chocolate can be found at www.fairtrade.net, select a country on the map to find each national Fair Trade site.