Would You Pay $13 For A Chocolate Bar? :: Original Beans, San Francisco

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.

Posted by Gil Zeimer on February 09, 2009 in Food

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