Have you ever asked yourself “Why is the cost of organic cacao so high?” Or even directed this question to a cacao business? At Cacao Source, we are often asked about our high price. The real question, however, should be “Why is the cost of conventional cocoa so low?”
We believe that the high cost of organic/fair trade food is simply the reflection of the true cost of growing food ethically. Imagine if all of your food was grown in a sustainable system, that it’s in harmony with the environment, and that everyone involved in the process is paid fairly. When you think about, it’s almost impossible. Such practices are nowadays very rare, especially if you buy an imported product. With less than 1% of our world’s agricultural land being organic, imagine how much of our products are organic and fair trade.
The cocoa market and most food markets have hidden costs that we need to uncover and to stand up against. Why are chocolate bars so cheap? Having worked in the cacao industry for 3 years, it is clear to our eyes that offering such a cheap product is impossible. (Unless, of course, if you are cutting corners in your ethics towards workers and the environment.) Have you thought about the extraction of natural resources to produce a chocolate bar (inluding monoculture of cocoa, palm, and sugarcane), the people cultivating it, the people processing it, the packaging, the distribution, the rent of the shop the product is sold at, and the marketing? How can a bar of chocolate cost only $1?
What about the cost of nature that is degrading due to the monoculture practices, or the people living under poverty level to tend to the cacao and process it? These people and the forest are paying the price, which is deducted from your purchase. Now the real questions are: “When are we going to take responsibility and pay the hidden cost of our consumption?”
We challenge you to find products that reflect the reality of the price it costs to bring it into your hands. We challenge you to change your consumption habits to quality and ethics over quantity. The truth is that at the end, a quality product will probably result in a similar amount of nutrients than a large quantity of convenient food. Therefore, this high price that scares you off will be actually equal investment to your needs, while you will stay in integrity with a high set of value.
It is very comfortable to stay in the consumer culture of our society, but is it really the life we want to live? When you consume a product, you support everything behind it. Nowadays, we can’t stay blind to the truth and its impact on people and the environment.
With Cacao Source, our price was defined by the cost of the production of the product. We never accepted the low price on the market when buying organic cacao. We decided to pay above it so that farmers could be fairly valued for their hard work. We have set up a transparent model where the distribution of our revenue could be visible to all which, once again, brings responsibility and the power of conscious choice back into your hands.
We decided to not go after labels of “fair trade” and “organic” as we believe it should be the norm rather than the exception. The enterprises being labeled should be those exploiting nature and people. As organic labels can, as well, be easily bought off, the solution we came up with was simple: transparency. The best way to know your farmer is organic and well paid is to know your farmer!
That’s why we are launching the Give Back to the Farmer Program. The program aims to have every single origin packaging linked to its farm with a QR code given access to the consumers. Imagine before enjoying your favorite cacao, you get to know the people around it. If you ever make your way to Guatemala we have been offering for 3 years cacao tours in Lake Atitlan to the farms, for you to not only read about your farmers but, as well, get introduced to them.