Chocolate On The Road: Hidden Costs Of Crafting Chocolate

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“At some point, when there isn’t enough return, the love and the passion fade away.”

-Sunita De Tourreil, Founder of The Chocolate Garage

The vast majority of individuals who ate chocolate as children recall it as a low-cost sweet, something that could be purchased at the shop for far less than one dollar. Therefore, the concept of a chocolate bar costing ten dollars, let alone five dollars or fifteen dollars, seems absurd to the majority of people. What could possible run such a high price? However, the true issue that you need to be asking yourself is why it was so reasonably priced in the first place.

After all, cacao trees are native to tropical locations all over the globe, but the process of turning cacao beans into chocolate often takes place in western countries. However, despite the fact that the physical inputs alone ought to drive the price through the roof, those chocolate candy bars remain as affordable as they have ever been. In today’s episode, we will investigate both the reason for this phenomenon as well as the myriad of factors that contribute to the overall increase in price of handmade chocolate. A hint: the problematic components do not consist of the materials themselves.

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Max Gandy // Chocolate Travel(@damecacao)님의 공유 게시물님, 2019 7월 29 7:15오전 PDT

Topics We Cover

  • how producers of fine-flavored cacao are adapting their practices in order to compete in the artisan market
  • the manner in which unique chocolate manufacturers describe and distinguish themselves as making “craft” chocolate
  • developing and experimenting with novel chocolates of a unique origin
  • numerous middlemen in the chocolate supply chain, as well as how their responsibilities have developed and changed throughout the course of time
  • chocolate’s intangible worth increased at each stage of production
  • how SoMA become knowledgeable about chocolate production and the source of cacao in the early 2000s
  • The crucial part that cocoa brokers play in ensuring the continued existence of artisanal chocolate manufacturers
  • expenses and potential hazards associated with hosting chocolate tasting events, operating an artisan chocolate retail store, and providing subscription boxes or other models comparable to these

Show Timeline

0:00-1:55~ Episode introduction, digging into some of the reasons why craft chocolate is so much more expensive than the stuff from convenience stores.

1:55-7:00~ How an Ecuadorian cacao farm completely restructured how they cared for their crops in order to become one of the world’s best cacaos. (Freddy Salazar)

7:00-15:45~ The chocolate making processes & costs as a part-time solo chocolate maker located in one of the most expensive countries in the world. (Yoon Kim)

15:45-24:30~ Sunita De Tourreil elaborating on the role and value add of retailers (& other middlepeople) in craft chocolate.

24:30-31:30~ The beginnings and struggles of building SoMA Chocolate as a micro-batch producer in a manufacturer’s world, including sourcing cacao and equipment. (Cynthia Leung)

31:30-36:20~ David Castellan discussing his first experiences making chocolate from the bean and trying to buy cacao from a large cacao distributor, before cocoa brokers existed at the scale they do today.

36:20-43:20~ Educating chocolate consumers by challenging their existing perspectives, and the literal cost of doing so. (Sunita De Tourreil).
Also, the end of the episode.

More About Our Guests

Manager of Costa Esmeraldas, an excellent cocoa grower headquartered in the northern region of Ecuador, Freddy Salazar Jr. Visit Costa Esmeraldas’s profiles in Facebook, Instagram, and Bean to learn more.

Yoon Kim is the founder of Smooth Chocolator as well as the chocolate maker for the company. Yoon produces the chocolate herself in Geelong, Australia. Check out Yoon’s Website and Instagram for more of his work.

Sunita de Tourreil has been teaching people about chocolate for a very long time. She is also the CEO and creator of the Chocolate Garage, and she has served as a judge for a number of national and international chocolate contests. Listen to her podcast, follow her on Instagram, and see her documentary series on cacao.

Cynthia Leung and David Castellan are the co-founders of SoMA Chocolate in Toronto, Canada, which is one of the oldest small-batch chocolate producers in the world. They are also chocolate makers at the company. Visit the SoMA website, as well as their Instagram and Facebook pages.

Further Reading

  • The seventh episode of this program, which focuses on Cacao Brands
  • Cacao importers: Meridian Cacao, Uncommon Cacao, Cacao Services
  • To learn more about retailers, distributors, and brokers, go here (from the Canadian perspective)


What is the cost of production for chocolate?

The production of one kilogram of cacao results in a total cost of $25 for the farmer. Klassen tells me that high-quality cacao from other regions can be purchased for between $7 and $9 per kilogram, whereas commodity cacao, which is what you get in a Hershey’s bar, can be purchased for $3.50 per kilogram.

What makes chocolate more expensive?

Because there is a shortage of cocoa, chocolate prices have increased.

The commodities market, which determines the price based on the levels of supply and demand, can result in varying levels of volatility on commodity prices. This is the primary factor that influences the prices of these commodities. The price of cocoa has the most significant impact on the overall price.

Why is the price of chocolate so low?

However, because there was such a large surplus of the beans from the previous year, the price of chocolate has remained relatively unchanged in comparison to the prices of other foods, which have increased during this period of record-high inflation. Cocoa supplies at US ports have been decreasing for the past 17 weeks and are now more than 20% lower than they were this time last year.

What is craft chocolate?

Craft chocolate is chocolate that has been produced on a small scale and where the quality and sustainability of the cacao beans is prioritized. This type of chocolate is also known as artisan chocolate. Since there is currently no established legal definition of what constitutes craft chocolate, anyone can technically call their product craft chocolate.

Is handmade chocolate business profitable?

Yes. Chocolate consumption in India is among the highest it is anywhere in the world. You can easily make a profit of at least 30,000 in a single month with a chocolate business, regardless of whether or not it is a homemade chocolate business or a small-scale manufacturing unit.