NCA (National Confectioners Association) data released their quarterly grinding report, showing that North American cocoa grindings bucked the upward trend seen in Europe and Asia, by falling 1.2 % from the same period of 2021 to 116,613 t. Yet, there appears to be some confusion over whether the numbers are an accurate representation of the market since the NCA reported on 16 plants when they usually include the numbers from 17.
Lower grinding numbers indicate a slowing demand, which came as a surprise to many observers who expected stronger grinding numbers as lockdowns globally started to ease. Cocoa demand weakened during lockdowns as some increased personal consumption couldn’t offset the impact of cancelled events and the closed hospitality industry.
Analysts expected grindings to increase by around 3 % or 4 % in the fourth quarter, in line with the recovery in other areas. In contrast, Europe’s fourth quarter grind increased by 6.3 % from a year earlier, while Germany’s numbers increased by 8.8%, and in Asia, the quarter ended up 6.33 % over the same quarter in 2020.