At least in the developed world, Christmas is often associated with chocolaty sweets. However, Aphaia’s recent mini research exercise conducted in association with Direct Cacao, an industry organisation promoting direct cocoa trade, shows that supply chain conditions largely determine how Christmassy your chocolates purchase feels for cocoa farmers. If you care about that, it may be worth checking how the cocoa for your favourite chocolate bar has been sourced.
Comparing different sourcing scenarios is not an easy task. In direct trade, chocolate makers are likely to buy wet, unprocessed cocoa directly from the farmers. In addition to drying and fermentation, the costs of transport to the port of shipment may vary from place to place. Having obtained direct pricing information from Direct Cacao members, we had to give commodity wholesale pricing information the benefit of a doubt. Regardless of that, we found that direct trade does pay for the farmers compared to both regular commodity trade and fair trade.
So does it pay for chocolate makers as well? Pricing figures suggest it does and that there is a clear #CaseForGreen in this regard. Upmarket direct purchasers add a significant luxury and quality premium to their chocolate bar price, which are both linked to origin sourcing as opposed to commodity cocoa use. Our previous research shows the price may as well include a sustainability premium consumers may be willing to pay if correctly informed.