The Cocoa Grind is Up

That ain’t a dance move, it’s an economic indicator — a measure of the total volume of cacao ground to powder to meet North American chocolate demand (other parts of the world issue their own quarterly “grindings” reports). The total grind was up 8.25 percent to 131,974 metric tons in the third quarter of this year, and that’s good news for chocolate sellers.

The bad news is that while chocolate demand is increasing, supply is dwindling. A two-year drought in West Africa is causing lower yields. Also cacao growers around the world are continuing to switch over to crops like palm oil and rubber in hopes of making a better living. It doesn’t take an economist to understand that when increasing demand meets decreasing supply you get higher prices, maybe drastically higher prices. So consider yourself warned, chocaholics…lean times may be a-comin’!

10 thoughts on “The Cocoa Grind is Up”

  1. NOOOOOOOOOO! 🙁 …… I can’t even bear the thought! So if one were to hoard cocoa powder, what is the best way to store it and how long will it keep that way?


    1. Hehe…unopened, cocoa powder will keep almost indefinitely. Certainly for years…5-7 conservatively. Just store it in a cool, dry place since it contains fat (cocoa butter). Best of luck with the stash!

      – Joe

    1. Thanks uptight! You’re quite correct that we’re not near historical highs…yet! And from what I understand, a sustained period of prices over $3,500 per ton would bring a lot of farmers back into the market…bringing prices back down again presumably. Still, with supply the way it is, and demand on the increase in the relatively new markets of Brazil and India, you never know! 😉


      – Joe

  2. Is cacao coming from more politically unstable parts of the world as well or is that just a mistaken impression on my part?

    1. Nope, not a mistake. 70% comes from West Africa which, shall we say, has its ups and downs politically. Other countries around the equator produce cocoa, in Southeast Asia for example, and they tend to have a more stable systems. But no amount of stability or instability can affect a drought…and that’s really what we’re dealing with right now.

      Nice to hear from you, Rainey!

      – Joe

  3. I went to the grocery yesterday and when I saw the price of walnuts and pecans I wanted to faint. And now you say coco is going to jump in price. Le sigh.

    1. Yeah they’re getting a little dear too, aren’t they?

      Thanks Ellen!

      – Joe

  4. I wonder what that would mean for prices of the more “snobbish” stuff that comes out of Venezuela, Equador and The Dominican Republic. Quality dark chocolate is already expensive, most expensive of which is Amedei’s Porcelana (50g sell for US$ 13.6 locally). I suspect that we are already paying a hefty mark-up for this stuff because it’s “packaged” as gourmet. Up, up, and away, I fear…

    1. I expect that’s true, OB. “Boutique” markets generally operate by their own rules. They’re generally insulated from commodity price swings because, as you point out, there’s a healthy markup there already. I’d still expect some increase there, though, people being people!

      – Joe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *