Chocolate (Cocoa Bean Derivatives)
The bean market has increased in the first quarter as a weak dollar and strong demand has pushed prices up. There has been a big return of speculative investors to the cocoa bean market as well as lower harvest numbers, putting further pressure on prices. Chocolate prices should remain firm with higher cocoa butter costs but as the butter/powder ratio is heavily favoring butter, cocoa powder prices remain very favorable. Contracting of powder needs is recommended through 2018.
Compound (Non-Cocoa Bean Derivatives)
Compound prices have seen some volatility due to various dips and peaks in edible oil and sugar prices but overall have remained fairly stable. Sugar will likely be the biggest factor in compound pricing as potential tariffs, quotas, and higher transportation costs could affect pricing. The increased demand for non-gmo sugar may also effect some compound products. Current world sugar prices are low with plenty of supply, however, US sugar remains stable to slightly soft.
Coconut (Desiccated, Toasted and Sweetened)
Coconut prices remain firm as expected, however, the flow of product has improved enough that no shortages were seen before the busy Easter season. Expect prices to remain firm as demand remains strong with little extra product available from origin. Hopefully we will have a calm storm season this year which could help to increase supplies.