Rising chocolate costs put the bite on sweet treat

Chocolate lovers look away – the sweet treat is the latest victim of rising living costs.

Record prices for key ingredients sugar and cocoa are pushing manufacturing costs even higher, after they rose up to 20 per cent last year.

Cocoa prices are soaring because of lower world production, Rabobank says.

“We’ve seen a lot of inflation in the chocolate category already, however we’re expecting there’s more price pressure coming,” said Pia Piggott, of Rabobank.

“The cocoa price will continue to stay quite elevated into next year.”

Global cocoa prices have risen 27 per cent this year, partly because of reduced production in major cocoa-growing regions of West Africa.

Wet conditions and flooding in Ivory Coast – which accounts for more than 40 per cent of global cocoa production – have left cocoa trees with disease and rot.

Lower dairy prices are providing some relief for chocolate manufacturers, but the price of cocoa and sugar are at record highs for the decade.

“Raw sugar is up 20 per cent year to date, so for manufacturers, if 60 per cent of your goods are sugar, that is a substantial input price increase,” Miss Piggott said.

While a record sugar harvest is expected in one of the world’s top producing nations Brazil, it won’t be enough to bring prices down.

Rabobank said despite the high cost of ingredients, chocolate producers still have some sweet deals on offer.

“There still is a lot of promotional activity in the space because these companies are trying to keep market share and gain it,” Ms Piggott said.

“Manufacturers would have been able to price in some of their cost of inputs.”


Liv Casben
(Australian Associated Press)


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