What the Chocolate Industry Needs is A $100 Bar of Chocolate
Posted in: Opinion
The non-existence of the $100 chocolate bar tells a lot abou the level of development of the chocolate business.
It is true that marketing/ranking/the press are sometimes the only justification for a wine to sell for several hundred dollars, but I beleive the usual reasons are the offer/demand ratio and the intrinsic difference/characteristics of the wine.
A bottle of say, "Chateau Latour" from the Medoc region of Bordeaux never sells for less tha $300 per bottle "young" because, by law Chateau Latour cannot produce more than a certain volume of wine per hectare and because, yes its tastes unique. The wineyard next door will look like the Chateau Latour, but tastes different and is easily identifiable. So when the rich Chinese who likes the taste wants a bottle, he is competing with the rich Americans, Indians Russian etc.. Add to this the "banking" characterics of quality wine that make it predictably increase in value over the years and the resulst are these astronomical prices.
Now, to cacao. Producers of high quality cacao beans are mostly small owners in hard to get places of the world. They have no organized structure beside a State controled entity that cares more to the volume producers than the fine bean plantor. Even if they find a chocolate producer ready to pay the high price for the beans, they have little recognition because the "Chocolatier" in Europe or the U.S. will promote his name rather than the (small) producer or producers. Then, although growing, the demand for chocolate is not as high as for wine, in part because people are not exposed to the same permament marketing and social pressure that wine enjoys. Add to this teh lack of exposure through magazines, exhibitions etc.. and you have the current price levels.
Clay, I think the $100 chocolate bar will only happen when a global ecosystem has been built. And this will take more than 5 years.