Episode 3 - The Price of Cacao

Episode Highlights

  • (1:00) How does the recent drop in commodity cacao prices impact cacao farmers?

  • (3:16) How, if at all, will the cacao trade be affected by an upcoming vote in Switzerland to extend the Swiss view on human rights extraterritorially to cacao-producing regions.

  • (6:48) What happens when cacao prices drop?

  • (9:55) Does the craft chocolate movement take a bigger hit than commodity cacao when cacao prices drop?

  • (13:00) Can poorer farmers access the craft chocolate movement in order to get better prices for their cacao?

  • (14:55) What kinds of issues make Côte d'Ivoire the epicenter for cacao supply chain inequalities?

  • (17:30) What is the role of the Swiss chocolate industry in cacao sourcing, and are there new business models that Swiss companies can adopt to take advantage of Switzerland’s role as a global chocolate leader?

  • (22:30) What are some creative business models in coffee?

  • (27:50) What if price wasn’t the primary metric for consumers?

  • (34:25) Sunita describes Happy Chocolate and the importance of the price-quality connection.

Favorite Quotations

  • Sunita: “It ends up being the cocoa farmers who bear all the risk and don’t win when there is an upside and definitely lose when something like this happens and they have a lot of cacao and they are not in a position to negotiate and there are so few buyers.”

  • Sunita: “What’s clear is that the farmers have no leverage and no power and are already living below poverty level.”  

  • Sunita: “Change will come when customers are making different choices and holding big companies accountable and we don’t want to take part in what we now understand as pretty brutal practices.”  

  • Sunita: “It has to be delicious and it has to be treating the whole supply chain well.”


Brian Beyke