The Citizen (KZN)

Choc prices not appetising


Zurich – Swiss chocolatie­rs have a battle on their hands as Easter rolls around, with surging cocoa prices sending their costs soaring, and consumers cutting back as inflation hits their pockets.

Cocoa was breaking records last week, coming close to $9 000 (about R170 000) per ton in New York and topping £7 000 in London, which will force chocolate makers to hike their prices even though they have little room for manoeuvre.

This month, Lindt & Sprungli warned that its prices would be going up again in 2024 and 2025, having already been raised by 10.1% on average in 2023.

They’re banking on higher margin products like pralines – not to mention their chocolate Easter bunnies – to absorb the shock.

The surge in cocoa costs, which comes on top of high sugar prices, “increases the challenges for Swiss chocolate”, said Thomas Juch, spokesman for Chocosuiss­e, the employers’ federation.

The cocoa price hike is happening against a “context of increased price sensitivit­y” on the part of consumers and is currently partly being borne by the manufactur­ers who “cannot fully pass on this increase in retail prices”.

This is because prices are adjusted at intervals during negotiatio­ns with supermarke­t chains and are not changing continuous­ly, said Juch. Food price inflation in 2023 dampened consumer appetite, with Swiss chocolate export volumes slipping 0.2% to 150 516 tons, according to Chocosuiss­e.

And per capita annual consumptio­n in Switzerlan­d – the world’s largest consumer of chocolate – fell by one percent to 10.9kg. –

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