Chocolate – Luxury Or A Necessity?

Chocolate – Luxury Or A Necessity?


  1. Cocoa is listed on the London and New York stock markets. This means it is subjected to the law of demand and offer and highly dependent on commercial speculation!
  2. There are only 5 multinational businesses that control worldwide production and distribution of chocolate. Therefore, the offer is in the hands of an extremely powerful lobby that controls its price.
  3. 85 % of cacao is produced in Africa (in countries like Ghana and the Ivory Coast). The remaining 15 % comes from South America and some Asian countries. This is quite concerning, given that the prices of chocolate products could jump significantly. For instance, if Chinese residents suddenly decide to start consuming chocolate massively, this could lead to the global demand being no longer satisfied. As a result, chocolate would quickly become a luxury instead of a necessity.
  4. In fact, we’re only one step away from the latter, as e.g. a civil war on the Ivory Coast or unfavourable weather conditions in Ecuador could halt sourcing of cocoa. This, in turn, would decrease chocolate production and, consequently, influence the sales for worse.



The social importance of chocolate

Everybody loves chocolate, that much is clear. Very few people are capable of resisting its deliciousness. Moreover, with the indulgence of our modern world, the vast majority takes chocolate products for granted all too easily. Today, they’re available to anyone, anytime. Truth be told, though, it wasn’t even that long ago that chocolate held important connections to wealth status. Historically, we associated it with elite, crème de la crème members of society. We only need to go as far back as the generations of our parents and grandparents to remind ourselves of the luxury that once was. So how did chocolate products even become such an inexpensive commodity in the first place? And what would happen if, one day, our shops stop stocking this delicious feat?


Chocolate – a luxury gift or a self-treat?

The answer lies in the undeniable universal likability of cacao and chocolate. 90 % of world population is hooked on this product which marketing experts denote to be of ‘a huge critical value’. Therefore, successful marketing strategies that aimed to increase the demand for chocolate were key to its secret foothold. Chocolate distribution and consumption are namely strongly linked to and dependent on many factors that need to be taken into consideration. Perhaps the most important of these are the geographical location and weather conditions of the country that we wish to target for import – for logical reasons, colder countries consume more chocolate!


Furthermore, the more developed the country (economically, politically, socially and/or culturally), the higher its consumption of chocolate. Let’s take Spain as an example – this stunning Mediterranean gem that occupies about 85 % of the Iberian peninsula was long subject to Franco’s dictatorship. It wasn’t until the 1970s that Spain started to develop beyond its traditional values. Such late advancement then resulted in a much later economic development when compared to other European countries. This is why France, Germany and even Belgium, for example, can have a much higher demand for chocolate. Their residents namely see chocolate products as hedonistic treats that take the form of an inexpensive commodity (“Hey, why don’t I treat myself to some chocolate today?”) whereas many Spaniards still see chocolate as a great gift idea, i.e. a luxury.


Consumerism has strong cultural roots

Throughout history, we have consistently drawn parallels between chocolate and feelings of love and expressing gratitude. Due to this fact, it comes as no surprise that many buyers see it as a feature that enhances relationships. Gifting chocolate to our friends, family or partners quickly leads to spending quality time together. Faster yet, it becomes a small gesture to treat our loved ones after a busy and stressful day at work. For this reason, we often market chocolate products in relation to pleasure, comfort and gratification. This explains why the biggest stock of chocolate becomes available around Valentine’s Day (or Sant Jordi in Catalonia), Christmas, Easter, etc. These holidays are all related to incitement of healthy human relationships. Moreover, marketing experts are well-aware of the comforting effects of chocolate. This is one of the main reasons to fill the counters of a gas station or a local shop, for example, with small chocolates. They are there to push you into an impulsive buy just before making your payment!


Innovative marketing strategies

Evidently, marketing experts know best when it comes to selling chocolate – the product needs to reflect something positive, something that will make us feel good. From the examples used above, it is also clear that consumerism holds a strong cultural component. Due to this fact, businesses wishing to increase their sales and widen their target market need to bring their attention to ‘the budget item’. You know, that mental space of the consumer that wants to spend their money on chocolate with the aim of satisfying their needs. The importance of those plays a vital role in modern marketing strategies. These constantly look to focus on not only the product itself but also the satisfaction of the client’s needs. Consequently, many modern businesses are willing to adapt their products and/or services to fit the needs of the customer. This means that, for those businesses, it becomes crucial to seek innovative ways of entering new markets of reference. Nowadays, these can become anything; from self-consumption, leisure, gifts, entertainment and opportunity to socialise with others, to gastronomy, etc.


The future is about taking risks

The takeaway from all this is that the modern field of marketing needs to be on a constant lookout for fresh, innovative strategies. These are essential to not only satisfy the customer’s needs but also create mental ‘traps’ to subtly shift cultural values and view of the desired product. When it comes to chocolate, we enter an ever-lasting dilemma: do chocolate products symbolise glamour? How much of its value do we still associate to wealth status? How do we open the doors of what once was a luxury to everyone? The answer is bright and clear – take a risk and dare to differ!

Differential marketing is the strategy we want to use when it comes to selling chocolate as an experience. It’s important to steer from the established path. Open-mindedness is crucial when it comes to the target audience, the creator, the customer’s needs as well as the message we send with our advertisement and its connotations. After all, there’s no success without risk. Chocolate industry needs to aim high and maintain creativity in finding new areas in life where we could appeal to a wider pool of customers. This aim to increase consumption of chocolate would, in turn, also increase the sales. When marketing chocolate products, one needs to be aware of the fact that healthy competition is always the right path that leads to success. After all, making products that we can sell increases demand subtly, yet significantly.


No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.