Winnipeg chocolatiers facing bitter taste of increased cocoa costs

For chocolatiers the taste of chocolate may be sweet but the increase in cocoa is not. Edward Djan has more.

For chocolatiers, the taste of chocolate may be sweet but the increase in cocoa is not.

Cocoa futures have been skyrocketing, and weather conditions slowing down the output of the commodity in West Africa, is to blame.

“The trend will continue, but the market will adjust. Sometimes temporary fluctuations can have a bit of a long-term impact,” explained Alankrita Goswami, an agribusiness and agricultural economics professor at the University of Manitoba.

While the issue could continue well into 2024, chocolatiers closer to home like Decadence Chocolates, are bracing for the impact.

“I’ve already been in touch with my supplier to see what we can do about mitigating some of the price increases, but it’s really scary,” said Helen Staines, the owner of Decadence Chocolates.

The potential increase in the price of cocoa comes as chocolatiers are already dealing with increases in the price of other commodities.

“It’s also the sugar prices, the vanilla prices. For example, to buy a 944 ml container, has gone up from about $45 to $230,” said Constance Menzies, the owner of Chocolatier Constance Popp.

“In the last three to four years it’s been a very steady increase for cocoa beans but also just the finished chocolate that we receive, to the point where we are paying 20 per cent more, because we do get different chocolate types, to 50 per cent to even a 100 per cent more.”

As chocolatiers look to still deliver a good quality product, they’re now looking at potentially passing on the costs to customers.

“Our prices are going to go up across the board. We will probably absorb some of the price increases, but we will have to pass on some of it as well,” said Staines.

Menzies adding, “It’s [products] always all natural. We’ve been around for close to 20 years, and that’s just who we are.”

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