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How much have Pump Street Chocolate prices gone up? Why now?
As of May 4th, 2022 the price of our standard bar of chocolate has changed from £6.25 to £6.75, which is an 8% increase. Similar increases are in place across our full product range.
This is the first price increase we have implemented on our 70g bars, and across the board, in seven years. We have done our best to absorb cost increases, but recent changes have been so significant that we are no longer able to absorb them.
Also, when inflation is taken into account, the cost of our chocolate bars is actually less than it was when we launched.
The first bars of chocolate were sold from our shop in Orford in September 2013 for £5.80 a bar. Adjusted for inflation using the Bank of England’s inflation calculator, that £5.80 was the equivalent of £7.07 in 2021. With additional inflation of roughly 6% this year, that original price would be £7.49 in current price terms.
Therefore in terms of spending power, our chocolate now costs less than it did when we launched. This is because we have worked very hard to pass on savings we have made from increasing our scale to the customer.
How have recent cost increases affected us at Pump Street?
The costs that have increased in the last few years particularly, that have effectively instigated this change, are primarily those of ingredients, logistics and cost of living.
We buy all of our ingredients at the most economical scale possible while still working hard to meet our high quality standards. We have seen the price of our cane sugar increase 60% in the last three years, while milk powder has gone up by 81% and 107% for skim and whole milk powder respectively.
Logistics prices impact the cost of our direct trade with our cocoa farmers significantly. A shipment that cost us £890.75 in 2019, costs us £2348.00 this year. That is an increase of 163.6%. Similarly, the cost of fulfilling orders on our online shop has increased, with Royal Mail price for a small parcel up 40% - a cost we absorb as we are committed to offering free shipping over a two bar order.
Has the price of cocoa beans gone up?
Cocoa beans are bought and sold in many different ways around the world, but as a commodity that is traded on markets and bought and sold in the futures market, it has a “commodity price” – this price is rather unrelated to the price we pay, as we trade directly with farmers or sometimes with specialist agents who are able to support us with access and logistics when it comes to working with new origins.
Commodity grade cocoa is often low quality and not traceable. And yes, the commodity price cocoa beans has overall risen in the past five years, although it rises and falls over the short term.
Due to our commitment to direct trade, we are not led by the commodity price of chocolate. The price we pay for beans has always been so far above commodity price and is set by the farmer. We haven’t seen a huge change as of yet – but this is likely to come in the next twelve months as farmers, and the countries we source beans from, are impacted by increases in costs around the world.
Why does Pump Street Chocolate cost more than other chocolate bars?
It is important to us that we adhere to our strict quality and ethics standards, and those costs are reflected in our chocolate bars.
This is the true cost of chocolate that is made using a transparent, ethical and sustainable supply chain. We leave value in the country of origin by paying farmers as equals in business with us, able to take home a fair wage and give the same to their team members, and to maintain their land and trees in environmentally responsible ways.
We want to ensure we have a congruously positive impact in Suffolk by creating good, fairly paid jobs here. We are constantly investing in our team, not just increasing wages to meet the strict standards of the Real Living Wage.
Ultimately, we know that few people will be able to afford to eat Pump Street Chocolate daily. But cutting corners to make cheaper chocolate would do a disservice to the movement for higher quality, higher welfare cacao practices around the world.
There are chocolates marketed as “slave-free” - a recent addition - or Fairtrade which has been in circulation for many years; both make claims regarding the ethics of their cocoa purchasing. Both are well-intentioned initiatives, and I am grateful for the increased awareness they have fostered in the inequalities that exist in the cocoa trade. But it is important that we remain aware that while working at the scale of industrial chocolate, it is impossible to have a truly transparent supply chain and slavery, child labour and poverty-perpetuating labour practices and prices will persist.
We aim to provide an alternative with our chocolate which is as clearly traceable and ethical as it is delicious.
Co-Founder of Pump Street Bakery and Pump Street Chocolate.