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Delicious and amazing chocolate can only be made from the highest quality cocoa beans. To reward farmers for the hard work required to produce high-quality cocoa we have established a fully transparent pricing grid that links specific quality criteria with pricing incentives. This is a revolutionary model for buying cocoa beans. In the spirit of full transparency, we are posting our Cocoa Bean Pricing Details and Specifications online, accessible to everyone including consumers, retailers, farmers and exporters.
We purchase cocoa beans from certified organic and fair trade producer groups comprised of small holder farmers around the world. Our core principle is that we provide significant price premiums for cocoa beans based on quality. These premiums provide real, meaningful incentives for producers to improve the quality of their cocoa beans. Paying premium prices for high quality cocoa beans requires full transparency in our entire supply chain, in order to ensure that farmers are benefitting from these premiums and able to invest in their families and communities. All of our farmer coop and export partners must demonstrate full transparency in their business transactions. This enables us to verify what every farmer is paid and influence farmer remuneration through our pricing incentives. Our commitment to these three things;
1. Quality cocoa beans,
2. Strong farmer income,
3. Full transparency,
enables Theo Chocolate to actively raise the bar for our entire industry. Simply put, our cocoa purchasing practices promote better quality cocoa beans and improved quality of life for cacao farmers, now and into the future.
HOW WE WORK
Quality Beans: When grading cocoa beans we assess both subjective and objective characteristics. Of all the characteristics, flavor is the most important and the hardest to quantify. Every chocolate manufacturer has their own desired bean flavor profile required to produce the chocolate flavor they are trying to achieve. Once beans with the desired flavors have been identified, the objective characteristics can be easily measured. These include bean size, fermentation level and bean defects. When we process beans that are well fermented, large in size and lack defects, our manufacturing process is more straightforward, and the quality of the chocolate we make improves. This quality merits a premium and we want to reward our suppliers for the hard work and commitment required to produce the quality of cocoa beans essential to making excellent chocolate.
Pricing: Cocoa is a global commodity, purchased and sold internationally based on the world market price. Small holder cocoa farmers have no control over the commodity price and very little leverage with buyers to negotiate pricing for their own crops. This means that in general, cocoa farmers are tied to the world market price fluctuations based on many variables beyond their control. The price that Theo pays for cocoa is tied directly to the price that our customers are willing to pay for our chocolate as well as the efficiency of our own chocolate making operation. Unlike the vast majority of chocolate brands, we own and control our own chocolate factory, which means that we do not have to give up margin to any other company – this allows Theo to pay higher prices to farmers and remain competitive as a brand. Theo gives the power back to cocoa farmers by providing a clear pricing structure based on quality, separate and distinct from the world market price. Theo quality premiums are substantially greater than the world market price, and exceed the premiums for organic and fair trade cocoa by more than 6x. Significant price premiums based on quality provide real incentive for farmers.
Transparency: We embrace the concept of full transparency by sharing our pricing structure publicly. But we far exceed Fair Trade standards demonstrating greater transparency than any other chocolate company in the world today. We believe that full transparency is required to earn consumer confidence as to how and where their dollars are going. But paying premium prices for high quality is not enough. Most importantly, our transparency provides cocoa farmers with the knowledge and understanding of how much they can expect to earn, without worrying about market fluctuations beyond their control. Having transparent pricing that is fixed and not tied to the market gives the power back to farmers. Offering a fixed price to farmers allows them to plan their future with confidence that as long as they maintain quality standards for their crop that they can count on a consistent income. Full transparency ensures that farmers benefit from these premiums and can reinvest in their land, families, and communities and plan for the future.
We support our quality driven pricing program with field training for Farmer Coops, Exporters and Farmers so that everyone in our supply chain knows:
- How to test for quality.
- How to properly take cocoa bean samples.
- How to improve post-harvest practices to meet our standards.
All prices listed are $USD per Metric Ton FOB (Freight On Board) country of origin, all around the world.
Stay tuned. We will be releasing more information in the coming months so that you know exactly how your purchase of Theo Chocolate impacts cacao farmers. This is one of the many ways we celebrate and strengthen our connections around the world and our passion here at home – making amazing chocolate!