Libya and Ivory Coast: Gas and Chocolate

The Ivory Coast produces over 37% of the worlds cocoa and Libya is the 9th largest oil exporter.

Just as you’ve seen a huge jump in gas prices: the same thing has happened in the cocoa market. Local conditions are preventing/restricting exports.

Without the cocoa bean there would be no chocolate of any type, it is the only source of cocoa powder, chocolate liquor and cocoa butter. Without the cocoa bean your only option would be the fake chocolaty flavored vegetable oil that other companies try to pass off as chocolate.

The downside to using real  gourmet chocolate is that  it is expensive and has been getting more expensive.

Below is a cropped screen shot taken from the International Cocoa Organization (http://www.icco.org), they keep track of the wholesale prices.

cost of cocoa beans since 2005

As you can see the cost of the cocoa beans has sky rocketed since 2005, it’s now twice what it was then and while the chart does not show it yet, the prices have continued to climb to record highs, as I write this the price for just the raw cocoa bean is over $3600 a ton.   Prices have changed due to availability, better wages for the growers and speculation by commodities traders. 

It’s really hard to export when people are running around blowing things up and shooting. Chocolate and gas prices have jumped, you’ve seen the effect at the pumps and FedEx and UPS have raised their fuel surcharges to cover their higher costs. That means we pay more for shipping and as a result we have to charge more for shipping.

Packages do not fly around the country without jet fuel, and after they land: the delivery trucks need their fuel as well.  Some chocolate covered strawberry companies have taken to using two day service as the basic delivery method for chocolate covered strawberries, we feel that a product delivered this way ends up with a very short shelf life and is not as fresh, and if anything goes wrong: the product is quickly ruined. You can tell when a company is using these methods by seeing if they charge a rush surcharge for Tuesday delivery or a special surcharge for next day delivery.

Saving a few dollars on shipping costs may look like a bargain, but if the shipment is delayed for any reason (weather, security, the business not opening on time, or a dozen other possible issues) then you are talking about delivering strawberries that were made 4 days before, those berries are going to be pretty rough and most likely ruined. There are no magic gel packs that are going to last 3 days, UPS and FedEx do not offer door to door refrigerated deliveries for any amount that you would be willing to pay for a single box of strawberries, and even if it were available a refrigerated strawberry still has a very limited shelf life.

To deliver chocolate covered strawberries nationwide you have to do some things right, you can’t ship them cross country and have have them show up next week, the best strawberries are delivered after spending a minimal time in transit (next day works best).  So even though you may order today for a delivery next week: we will make them up just before we give them to FedEx/UPS and if everything goes correctly they arrive the next day.  This results in a gift that is fresher than one sent by other methods (such as a planned two day delivery).

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