The process in which our chocolate bars are made is pretty complicated. We’ve written about how exactly the cocoa bean is turned into delicious chocolate (check out our archives if you’re interested) but did you know that cocoa beans are traded like stocks?
The cocoa bean is traded on something called the futures market. The futures market is an exchange where people trade something called futures contracts. A futures contract is an agreement to buy something at a certain quantity and price at some date in the future. For example, say I own an airplane company and I know I have to buy oil in one year. If I am worried that the price of oil is going to rise, I can buy a futures contract that says in one year I will buy 1000 barrels of oil at a certain price. If a year from now the price of oil has risen, I will have made a wise choice buying a contract! The person who sold me the futures contract a year ago will have to sell me the oil at the lower price. If, however, the price of oil has fallen, then I will have to buy oil at a higher price and I will lose money.
Chocolate (the cocoa bean) is traded in the same way as oil. Some other commodities that are traded on the futures market are gold, gas, coffee, and pork bellies (yup that wasn’t a typo, pork bellies are traded on the futures market.) Check out the graph of the price of cocoa beans over the last year.
You’ll notice that the price is really expensive! That is because you can’t just agree to buy or sell a contract for one pound of cocoa beans, or even one hundred pounds. Cocoa bean contracts trade for 10 metric tons of cocoa (or 20,000 pounds!) That’s a lot of chocolate, so much so that we’re not sure if we could even eat all of that at Chocomize, and we’re obsessed with chocolate.
There’s more to your personalized chocolate candy bar than you think! If you have any more questions about your chocolate, just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.