BASIC has presented in June 2020 the results of its latest study on the creation and distribution of value, costs and margins for chocolate products consumed on the French market, considered as a first step towards a better understanding of these issues at the European level, which has been conducted on behalf of the European Commission’s DG DEVCO, the Investment Centre of the FAO and the ECA.

On 30 June 2020, a joint webinar was organized by the European Commission Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the European Cocoa Association (ECA) to present the results of the “Comparative study on the distribution of value in European chocolate chains” which was independently conducted by BASIC and funded by the 3 organizations (DG DEVCO, the FAO and the ECA).

The webinar was hosted by the Vice-President of the European Parliament, Ms. Heidi Hautala, and welcoming remarks were made by Ms. Carla Montesi, Director at DG DEVCO, Mr. Mohamed Manssouri, Director at FAO Investment Centre and Mr. Harold Poelma, ECA Chairman. The event was attended by 200 participants and it welcomed the following speakers: H.E. Abou Dosso, Ambassador of Ivory Coast to Belgium, H.E. Sena Siaw-Boateng, Ambassador of Ghana to Belgium, H.E. Pablo Ortiz García, Ambassador of Ecuador to Belgium, Mr. Antonie Fountain, Managing Director of VOICE Network, Ms. Awa Traoré Bamba, Managing Director of Cooperative CAYAT, and Mr. Aldo Cristiano, Chairman of CAOBISCO.

The study has investigated the French market of dark and milk chocolate tablets, as well as confectionery bars and breakfast cocoa powder sold in supermarket stores – made of cocoa beans grown in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ecuador, and Cameroon to provide better insight into the distribution of value, costs, tax and margins along the different stages of the cocoa and chocolate chain.

It shows that differentiation in value creation and cost takes place mainly in the two last stages of the chain. Main factors linked to downstream differentiation are product brand and reputation, and market segmentation, as well as other less tangible consumer product attributes.

On the other hand, the research indicates that the value and costs associated with the stages from cocoa cultivation to chocolate couverture manufacturing are much more stable. The research also shows that, within producing countries, the main differences in value and costs distribution stem from three principal factors: the type of regulation and the State’s involvement in the sector; the agricultural practices impacting quality and productivity; and the evolution of cocoa world prices. Particularly in the cases of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, the study indicates that a key leverage lies in the guarantee of a homogeneous, stable and predictable quality of cocoa as well as the reliability of the supply.

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