Why this is a great time for the fine chocolate business
This week, there has been a lot of buzz in the media about an impending cocoa supply crisis and rising chocolate costs . If you are considering starting a chocolate business, or if you are already in the business, these stories may have you concerned about the future.
But, there's another way to think about this story. The huge amount of coverage this story has received has done something important for those of us in the fine chocolate business - it has begun to plant the idea in the minds of consumers that they need to be prepared to pay more for chocolate in the future. This story focused primarily on the cocoa supply in West Africa that we all know is used by huge, multi-national chocolate manufacturers. Now it's up to those of us in the fine chocolate industry to use this coverage to further a reality that we already know exists - fine flavor cacao comes from small, family farms grown in countries 20 degrees north or south of the equator, and the majority of these farmers live below the poverty line. If we want them to keep growing fine flavor cacao, they have to be paid more for their crops so that they don't choose to grow more lucrative crops like rubber, bananas, coffee or palm oil. If you would like to learn more about this issue, visit the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative (HCP) website, or pick up my book Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate . This coverage could be the first step to helping consumers understand why fine chocolate must cost more, and it's the perfect time for artisan chocolatiers and chocolate makers to shine.