Uncommon Cocoa reveals how much it pays farmers and suppliers for beans

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Bartolo Teul, a cocoa farmer from Toledo, Belize, supplies beans to Uncommon Cacao. Pic: Uncommon Cacao
Bartolo Teul, a cocoa farmer from Toledo, Belize, supplies beans to Uncommon Cacao. Pic: Uncommon Cacao

Related tags Cocoa beans Cocoa Chocolate Sustainability

Uncommon Cacao, which describes itself as the ‘first Transparent Trade cacao supply chain company,' has released its 2021 Transparency Report covering key performance indicators over the past 12 months.

According to the company, the 50-page report represents the only publication from an international cacao trader that openly reveals what producers are actually paid when they sell their cacao into the Uncommon Cacao network “for all to see​”.

Its 2021 edition is the company’s ninth annual Transparency Report and publishes verifiable pricing for every transaction along the supply chain related to all of the company’s cacao purchases, including information about who produced it and where.

Emily Stone, Co-Founder/CEO of Uncommon Cacao, told ConfectioneryNews: "At Uncommon, we have two big ambitions for every bean we buy and sell. Most importantly, we seek to drive cacao producer success through Transparent Trade. The entire chocolate industry depends on the hard and skilled work of cacao producers. We pay our partners between 39% and 82% higher than commodity prices, and our partners pay an average premium of 25% over the local market price directly to producers.

"We stand behind farmgate price disclosure as a critical foundation for enabling global conversations and analysis around a more equitable and producer-focused value chain. We also publish the prices at which our cacao sells to chocolate makers, so that cacao producers and exporters have visibility into pricing downstream.

"Transparent Trade means two-way communication about pricing that builds trust across the value chain and serves as a foundation for systems change towards higher prices to producers and decommoditization of this beloved and important crop. Secondly, we seek to give chocolate makers a deeper and more meaningful connection to the cacao they work with and to the producers who grow it.

"Not all chocolate makers can travel regularly to cacao producing countries to meet these critically important folks in person, so we use platforms like our Transparency Report to share stories, data, and photos. We believe Transparent Trade sets the foundation for accountability, deeper connection, and lasting systems change in the cacao industry."

This year, the company worked with scholars at the Fine Cacao & Chocolate Institute (FCCI) to collect and verify data and to draft the final report.

In the wake of ongoing industry challenges around sustainability, persistent cacao producer poverty, and historically low cocoa prices, Uncommon Cacao offers a new ethical and commercial vision for global cacao trading. Working with over 7,000 producers across 12 countries, Uncommon Cacao supplies quality cacao to over 230 craft and premium chocolate makers globally​,” a spokesperson said.

The 2021 report’s key findings include:  

  • Suppliers selling to Uncommon Cacao were paid between 39% and 82% more than commodity prices, and Uncommon’s suppliers paid producers an average of 25% over the local market farmgate price
  • Women cacao producers represented 38% of the producers purchased from in 2021, an increase of 951 female cacao producers over 2020
  • Certified organic hectares across all Uncommon Cacao origins grew by 35% over the last year
  • The Uncommon Cacao average farmgate price (actual price earned by cacao producers) of US $2,610/ton was higher than even the Fair Trade certified export floor price (price earned by exporters) of US $2,400/ton.

About Uncommon Cacao

Uncommon Cacao was founded in 2010 by creating cacao export companies in Belize (Maya Mountain Cacao) and Guatemala (Cacao Verapaz) that work directly with farmers to produce high quality cacao. It sources high-quality cacao beans for chocolate makers globally - and claims to be disrupting the global cacao market as the first Transparent Trade cacao supply chain company.

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