Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

REPORT: Comparative study on the distribution of value in European chocolate chains

FAO and BASIC. 2020. Comparative study on the distribution of value in European chocolate chains. Paris. DOI link. 234 pages

This study by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Bureau d’analyse sociétale pour unne information citoyenne (BASIC) explores the distribution of value and costs along cocoa and chocolate supply chains. With a focus on the French market of dark and milk chocolate, confectionery bars and breakfast cocoa powder, it analyses cocoa grown in four producer countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ecuador and Cameroon.

Principally the report aims to estimate the distribution of value, costs and profits for different chocolate products from cocoa farmers to consumers and explore the influencing factors. It also compares the value accrued by farmers for the different products. Its main findings are that 70% of the total value are accrued by brands and retailers, the final two actors in the chain. At the opposite end of the chain, 18.6% of total value is accrued in cocoa producing countries.
  • This study investigates the French market of dark and milk chocolate tablets, as well as confectionery bars and breakfast cocoa powder sold in supermarket stores - made of cocoa beans grown in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ecuador, and Cameroon to provide better insight into the aggregate on value creation and cost along the various stages of the cocoa and chocolate chain. 
  • It shows that differentiation in value creation and cost takes place mainly in the two last stages of the chain. Main factors linked to downstream differentiation are product brand and reputation, and market segmentation, as well as other less tangible consumer product attributes. On the other hand, the research indicates that the value and costs associated with the stages from cocoa cultivation to chocolate couverture manufacturing are much more stable. 
  • This study will be a key element of the EU dialogue for sustainable cocoa and of the policy dialogues at country level. It will allow to simulate various levels of prices and premiums (notably Living Income Differential) and to assess their impacts on the various segments of the chain in terms of margin, costs, value added creation and impact on final price to consumers.


The concept note and agenda of the dialogue is available here

In the context of the European Commission’s political priorities including the European Green Deal and a zero tolerance approach on child labour, the Commission initiated an informal dialogue in support of a sustainable cocoa sector.

It builds upon the initiative of the two main producing countries, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, existing initiatives of EU Member States, third countries, and international organisations. Considering the role of the EU as policy and global standard setter, the objective of the dialogue is to support the elimination of child labour and child trafficking, the protection and restorations of forests, and to ensure a living income for cocoa farmers.

The webinar event was attended by 168 participants. It welcomed the following speakers:

Opening Session 
  • Welcome remarks by Jutta Urpilainen, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships 
  • HE Abou Dosso Ambassador of Côte d’Ivoire 
  • HE Harriet Sena Siaw-Boateng Ambassador of Ghana to the EU
Session 1: The role of the EU private sector in the sustainability of cocoa supply chains 
  • Hugo-Maria Schally, Head of Unit, Multilateral Environmental Cooperation, DG ENV 
  • Maija Laurila, Head of Unit, Company law, DG JUST 2 
  • Mr. Harold Poelma, European Cocoa Association Chairman and President Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate 
  • Christophe Alliot, Le Basic 
  • Mathilde Mesnard, Deputy Director of the Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs of the OECD
Session 2: Improving synergies between the EU’s international cooperation programmes and other sustainability initiatives  
  • Introductory remarks: Koen Doens, Director General, DG DEVCO 
  • Toussaint N'Guessan, President of the Board, World Cocoa Producer Organisation (WCPO) 
  • Dr. Maria Flachsbarth, Parlamentary Secretary, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) 
  • Francesco d’Ovidio, Fundamentals, International Labour Organization (ILO) o Antonie Fountain, Managing Director, VOICE-Network 
Wrap-up and way forward 
  • Views from Heidi Hautala, Vice-President of the European Parliament 
  • Closing remarks by Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People and responsible for Trade (designate) 
  • Wrap up and next steps by the moderator Viwanou Gnassounou, Executive Business and Development Policy Advisor
Presentation by: Christophe Alliot, Le Basic: Comparative study on the distribution of value in European chocolate chains. Paris. DOI link. 234 pages

30 June 2020. A webinar was hosted on 30th of June by the Vice-President of the European Parliament, Ms. Heidi Hautala, and the welcoming remarks were made by Ms. Carla Montesi, Director at DG DEVCO, Mr. Mohamed Manssouri, Director at FAO Investment Centre and Mr. Harold Poelma, ECA Chairman.

The event was attended by 200 participants

It welcomed the following speakers: H.E. Abou Dosso, Ambassador of Ivory Coast to Belgium, H.E. Sena Siaw-Boateng, Ambassador of Ghana to Belgium, H.E. Pablo Ortiz García, Ambassador of Ecuador to Belgium, Mr. Antonie Fountain, Managing Director of VOICE Network, Ms. Awa Traoré Bamba, Managing Director of Cooperative CAYAT, and Mr. Aldo Cristiano, Chairman of CAOBISCO.

Comment peut-on prétendre consommer responsable si l’on ne comprend pas, en amont, l’impact économique des produits que l’on achète ? Pour Christophe Alliot, co-fondateur du BASIC.

Deux grandes familles rivales du cacao, les Desva et les Ahitey, se livrent une bataille sans merci pour le contrôle de la production et du négoce cacaoyer de la région de Caodji. À leur tête, deux chefs de clan sans scrupules : l’influent et riche Élie Desva, issu de l’aristocratie ivoirienne du cacao, et le brut et excessif self-made man Jean Ahitey. Un affrontement impitoyable qui dévoile les rouages du monde méconnu du cacao en Afrique de l'Ouest.

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