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Retail Value of Chocolate

I debated about which blog to post this to, but since it deals more with pricing than with food, I'll post it here.

You need a sunny, cloudless day to make toffee (or caramel) because any inclusion of moisture in the pan will cause the sugar to recrystalize and the toffee won't set. Because it is so humid here, even on our driest days, it's really hard to make your own chocolate-covered toffee from the basic ingredients. You're much better off making butterscotch since it's a far more forgiving recipe. Although, that flavor seems to be pretty unpopular out here too. As far as retail prices go, Heath and Trader Joe's are priced about the same, although Heath is mass produced and Trader Joe's is probably made the same, but the pieces are served up in a plastic tub and not individually wrapped. I like the latter because the bars keep fresher longer in the fridge. Mini Heaths are about 1/3 the size of a regular Heath bar, what consumer know as "fun size" or "snack size".


At retail, pricing kinda looks like this:


a regular sized Heath bar, 1.4 oz, $0.50/bar ($0.36/oz)
a bag of mini Heath bars, 11 oz, roughly $2.50-$3.00/bag, ~ $0.23/oz
a bag of milk chocolate Dove, 9.5 oz, $4/bag (rarely on sale), $0.42/oz
a "tub" of Trader Joes English toffee bars, 8 oz, $4, ~$0.50/oz
a regular Toblerone bar, 3.5 oz, about $2.50-$3.00/bar, ~$0.71/oz

By inexpensive, I meant to say that it's a good quality chocolate for eating and that procuring it for purely creature comforts is easy to do. Cheap, on the other hand, would be an adjective I'd apply to just about everything made by Nestle, World's Finest Chocolate, or to some extent Hersheys. And, in that regard, I'm not talking about price, but the quality of the ingredients that went into their chocolate candies. There's a definite lack of taste when cocoa butter and chocolate liquor isn't used in a chocolate confection. Nestle, for example, compensates by increasing the amount of sugar in the recipe, so much that it tastes more like sugar than chocolate.
Let's put pricing into more context for the "higher end" stuff...

Scharffen Berger, milk or dark chocolate bar, 3oz, $4/bar ($1.33/oz)
Godiva milk chocolate bar, 1.5 oz, $3.50-$5.00/bar ($2.33/oz)
Lindt, milk or dark chocolate bar, 3.5 oz, $1.50-$2.00/bar ($0.43.oz)
Green & Black organic dark chocolate bar, 3 oz, $4/bar ($1.33/oz)
Whole Foods "Everyday Value brand" organic milk chocolate bar, 3 oz, $2-$3 ($0.67/oz)
Trader Joe's milk or dark chocolate bar, 1.75 oz, $0.50/bar ($0.29/oz)

How about a custom confection shop like the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (a west coast chain store), chocolate confections are about $25/lb (or $1.56/oz)

This is almost like the argument for how much a cup of tea costs. One of my projects at the undergrad level was to create a business plan for a cybercafe. But, the value and taste that I get from eating certain types of chocolate.. am I more or less willing to fork out money for it? Depends on the quality of the chocolate recipe than the brand that promotes it. It's why I have never bought Godiva, whose core business strategy is to sell high-end imported chocolate at a very high retail price. It's a perceived worth, an intangible, just like how goodwill is listed as an asset on a company's financial statements.
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