Why Is Chocolate So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Maisie Hughes

Maisie Hughes is a 20-year veteran of the culinary world. She has worked as a chef in some of the most prestigious restaurants in the country, and she currently volunteers her time at local food banks.

Chocolate is one tasty treat that many of us love to enjoy, but not all chocolate is made the same. Moreover, the price of chocolate has been rising, making chocolate more difficult to buy.

If you want to buy chocolate but noticed the new prices, you may be wondering why chocolate is so expensive. I did the research, and here is what I learned!

Why Is Chocolate So Expensive?

Factors like global inflation, limited supplies of cocoa, and the fact that cocoa is challenging to grow contribute to the higher price of chocolate. Naturally, if a luxury brand makes chocolate or the product has more cocoa, it will be more costly. Growing cocoa takes a long time, which contributes to higher prices.

Do you want to learn more interesting facts about what can affect the cost of chocolate? I made a list of more reasons below, so read on!

1. Inflation

One of the main reasons chocolate is expensive is inflation since chocolate’s price tends to fluctuate.

However, most chocolate lovers will notice that the cost of chocolate has been steadily going up throughout the years.

That said, this is likely due to the demand for chocolate worldwide. For example, almost every country enjoys some form of chocolate, making it a popular commodity susceptible to inflation.

2. Limited Supplies Of Cocoa

Typically, another reason why chocolate is so expensive is the limited supplies of cocoa, which can contribute to the inflating costs of chocolate.

Despite being so loved, there is only so much cocoa that can grow in the world.

Usually, cocoa suppliers have a hard time keeping up with the global demand for chocolate. Therefore, cocoa suppliers need to raise their prices to deal with the shortage of supplies.

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3. Luxury Brands

Usually, the more expensive types of chocolate will be from a luxury brand. With that, luxury brands often come with a certain prestige, allowing them to charge more for their chocolates.

Moreover, luxury brands of chocolate often dedicate a certain amount of quality and craftsmanship to their chocolate.

For instance, Godiva is a luxury chocolate brand that utilizes fine Belgian chocolate for its products.

4. Cocoa Is Hard To Grow

Another reason chocolate can be expensive is that cocoa is challenging to grow.

Typically, anything involving more labor and time to manufacture or produce will be a more expensive product.

For instance, cocoa trees need to grow in warm rainforests protected from the wind and sun.

Further, farmers who try to grow cocoa trees in other climates often have to mimic these conditions, which is difficult.

5. Cocoa Is Hard To Harvest

5. Cocoa Is Hard To Harvest

As mentioned earlier, you need to be very careful about caring for a cocoa tree.

For example, any sudden change in climate can damage the cocoa tree’s chances of producing cocoa pods to be harvested.

Moreover, farmers are extremely wary of their cocoa trees because they have limited yields per tree. Typically, you can expect one cocoa tree to only give around 20 cocoa pods per tree.

6. Cocoa Takes A Long Time To Grow

Usually, cocoa farmers need to wait for a cocoa tree to grow for at least four to six years until the cocoa tree flowers.

Also, even when the cocoa tree flowers, the farmers will have to wait for another five to six months to allow the cocoa pods to ripen.

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Normally, most farmers can expect one to two harvests from their cocoa trees a year. However, this only occurs if the cocoa tree has grown in the perfect conditions.

7. Processing Cocoa Is Difficult And Time Consuming

It is very rare for cocoa pods to be sold as-is, especially if the cocoa is sold to other countries.

Therefore, you can expect that the cocoa pods will be processed first to make cocoa, which is a difficult task.

Firstly, the cocoa pods will have to be fermented, which takes at least five to seven days.

Next, the fermented cocoa gets dried, and the completion time can vary based on the weather, equipment, etc.

Finally, the cocoa needs to be aged, lasting anywhere from 30 days to an entire year.

However, employees have to carefully watch over the aging cocoa to ensure that mold does not develop from humidity.

8. Higher Quality Cacao Costs More

Like most products in life, anything considered high-quality tends to be more expensive.

Moreover, this standard will also apply to chocolate because expensive chocolate is often made from high-quality cocoa or cacao.

For instance, chocolate made from Nacional and Criollo cacao beans will be much more expensive than other variants of coffee.

That said, this is because Nacional and Criollo cacao are rare and feature complex, unique flavors.

9. Marketing Techniques

Generally, marketing techniques have a huge role in deciding how much a product will be, including chocolates.

For example, marketing techniques can make a product appear more expensive than it actually is, convincing consumers to spend more money on the product.

10. Higher Cacao Content

Usually, you can expect that expensive chocolate has a high amount of cacao in it.

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Usually, chocolate should at least be 50% cacao solids because anything lower than that is considered low-quality chocolate.

Also, this explains why dark chocolate is more expensive than milk chocolate and white chocolate.

Moreover, dark chocolate contains at least 75% cacao solids, meaning dark chocolate needs more cacao solids to produce.

11. Chocolate Artisans

Typically, a common reason why your chocolate could be expensive is that the chocolate was made by an artisan.

With that, chocolate artisans are highly skilled chocolate makers that aim to make the chocolate as good as possible.

Normally, you will be paying for the other ingredients that the chocolate artisan used, which will likely be expensive. Plus, you will be paying for the chocolate artisan’s time and craftsmanship.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why pizza is so expensive, why protein bars are so expensive, and why bread is so expensive.

Conclusion

Usually, the cost of chocolate is determined by economic factors, such as inflation and unstable demand and supply chains.

Also, since chocolate is a popular product, chocolate is always in demand.

Moreover, cacao used to create chocolate is hard to grow, harvest, and process, making farmers charge more for cacao.

Plus, there are high-quality cacao beans and luxury chocolate brands that make their products more expensive.

Author

  • Maisie Hughes is a 20-year veteran of the culinary world. She has worked as a chef in some of the most prestigious restaurants in the country, and she currently volunteers her time at local food banks.

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