Page 1: The world market for cocoa
Much of the world's cocoa comes from West Africa, which provides 70% of total output. The two main suppliers are the Cote d'lvoire and Ghana. In these countries the cocoa beans are typically grown on small family farms. Most of these are only two to three hectares in size. Each farm produces around one tonne of beans each year.
Chocolate manufacturers recognise that the small growers are the industry's lifeblood, and that our enjoyment of chocolate products depends on their wellbeing. So, the industry is working with other organisations on the ground in West Africa on a series of programmes designed to improve the economic and social well-being of the cocoa farming villages and to ensure that small farmers secure a sustainable future.
Although some finished chocolate products will be consumed close to local production (e.g. in West Africa), far larger quantities are consumed elsewhere. Farmers grow around three million tonnes of cocoa beans each year. Of these, about 700,000 tonnes go to the USA. UK manufacturers import about 215,000 tonnes.
Demand for chocolate products drives the supply of cocoa. Without willing consumers to sell to, there is no point or profit in producing. Consumers, manufacturers and suppliers all rely on each other. If cocoa growers are to stay in business, manufacturers that use cocoa must do more than offer them fair prices. They must also ensure that the global market for chocolate-based products remains buoyant and growing.
Developed countries are the major consumers of the world's cocoa supply. However, they are mature markets and new growth is likely to come from countries such as China. There, rising living standards and growing familiarity with chocolate products are causing a rapid increase in consumption. For the industry to prosper, it is vital to put time and effort into marketing.