The current global market value of the annual cocoa crop is about $5 billion US. So it’s no wonder that Original Beans Inc., a new super-premium chocolate-maker in San Francisco, is charging $13 for a 3.5 ounce bar. They say you’re buying more than chocolate. They’ll also plant a tree in the rainforest where the ingredients originate in Bolivia, Ecuador and the Congo with the slogan, “The Planet: Replant It.”
Whether you think that’s haltingly altruistic, insanely naive or just a load of crap, it’s a pretty sweet advertising angle in a very competitive market. The choco-eco-social commitment and sustainability angle is interesting, but in this challenging economy, can Original Beans sell enough product to survive when you can buy a bar of Hershey’s for a buck or less? Original Beans’ co-founder, Lesal Ruskey, pictured above, hopes the discriminating consumer will spend wisely for her product.
A side note: Joseph Schmidt and Scharffen Berger, two super-premium chocolate makers owned by Hershey’s, reported last week that they were closing their SF Bay Area shops. So good luck to Original Beans. They’ll need it.