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The Economics of Chocolate$
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Mara P. Squicciarini and Johan Swinnen

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198726449

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198726449.001.0001

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Concentration and Price Transmission in the Cocoa–Chocolate Chain

Concentration and Price Transmission in the Cocoa–Chocolate Chain

(p.339) 17 Concentration and Price Transmission in the Cocoa–Chocolate Chain
The Economics of Chocolate

Catherine Araujo Bonjean

Jean-François Brun

Oxford University Press

The history of the chocolate industry is a long process of industrial acquisitions, mergers, and restructuring, which leads to a high degree of horizontal concentration. We explore the changes in the power relationships at different stages of the cocoa–chocolate chain through an analysis of the price paid to the cocoa grower in Côte d’Ivoire, the world price of semi-processed products, and the retail price of a tablet of chocolate sold in France. The bipolar structure of the chocolate industry suggests that cocoa processors are not in a position to set prices for semi-finished cocoa products and couverture above the competitive market price. The chocolate manufacturers, engaged in a strategy of product differentiation, are more likely to be responsible for the rigidity of the chocolate price to downward shocks in the cocoa price.

Keywords:   chocolate industry, cocoa price, cocoa processing, Côte d’Ivoire, horizontal concentration, semi-finished cocoa products, product differentiation

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