You might want to sit down before you read this. Are you sitting down?
Ok, good. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but the world is running out of chocolate
As we roll into a festive season and become the most Augustus Gloop versions of ourselves, it might be worth noting that this world chocolate deficit is causing moderate hysteria and worldwide panic amongst all the sweet teeth and the fairies that collect them.
According to The Age, we are eating more chocolate than Jesus from Peru can produce and the confectionery Gods, specifically Mars Inc & Barry Callibaut are furrowing their brows in concern.
“Last year, the world ate roughly 70,000 tons more cocoa than it produced. By 2020, the two chocolate-makers warn that that number could swell to 1 million tons, a more than 14-fold increase; by 2030, they think the deficit could reach 2 million tons.”
Drought and some kind of weird fungus in West Africa are severely impacting cocoa production and your high falutin’ tastes aren’t helping the matter. Gone are the days of your average consumer nabbing that standard creamy milk chocolate Cadbury from the shelf, to be replaced by the 18 different types of organic, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, 80 per cent cocoa chocolate bar varieties now in your supermarket.
At the World Cocoa Conference this year (yes you read correctly), held by the International Cocoa Organisation they were adamant that the recent Ebola breakout is only marginally affecting the production of cocoa beans. But should it ever spread to the Côte d’Ivoire, which produces about 70 per cent of the world’s key to chocolatey goodness, then we’ll be in some serious trouble. And for an $80 billion a year industry, it won’t just be our taste buds suffering.
As it stands around 3.5 million tonnes of cocoa are produced every year (ow much of that is used for Willy Wonka’s chocolate river, we’ll never know). But experts are predicting that demand for cocoa will rise by 30% by the year 2020.
The Guardian reports this is due in part to the rising incomes in Asian economic powers India & China and greater economic recovery in the wealthier North. Cost of cocoa beans has already increased 18.5% in the past year, which in one instance has led to a chocolate price fixing ring by Hershey, Nestle and Mars in Canada. I feel like this should be followed by a headline about the Hamburglar stealing The Colonel’s list of 11 secret herbs & spices.
At the end of the day, we could always just try eat less chocolate. But who am I kidding, that’s never going to happen and if it did I’m sure we’d find the Easter Bunny crying in his burrow and Caramello Koala (whose name is George, FYI) no longer singing his sweet tunes, pun intended.