Page 2: The supply chain for chocolate
As with many other manufacturing industries, creating chocolate products involves a chain of production with many links.
It starts with cocoa bean growers and ends when retailers sell us the final product. This may be in a small shop, supermarket, vending machine or some other retail outlet. Some obvious links in this chain are shown in the diagram.
At each stage of the chain there will be additional services that help producers to operate more effectively. These include banking and insurance services, packaging firms, transport specialists.
The supply is actually far more complex than the simple diagram suggests. The illustration shows the complexity of the cocoa supply chain in the Cote d'lvoire.
It is clear that in the course of converting cocoa beans into cocoa butter the raw material will be traded several times. Only after that will UK and other manufacturers purchase the cocoa beans and cocoa butter for final processing.
In countries like Ghana, where the Government regulates the market, the price paid to farmers is fixed and they use established local buying stations. In contrast, in the Cote d'lvoire the farmer's product will move along the supply chain to the end consumer in several ways; usually a local agent may approach the grower and offer a deal.