Make the most of your chocolate treats this Christmas and start stock-pilling those Celebrations tins, they may not be around for much longer as experts predict that a cocoa crisis is imminent.
We will have a million-ton cocoa shortage within eight years, forcing the price of chocolate to rise significantly.
Industry insiders say the growing demand for chocolate in areas where it wasn’t previously popular means cocoa farmers need an area the size of the Ivory Coast to produce more cocoa.
Angus Kennedy, a leading British chocolatier, told The Express: “Part of the problem is the growing demand for chocolate in Asia where countries such as China are turning more towards Western tastes.”
If they do not receive more help to boost cocoa bean crops, prices will push chocolate into a delicacy price bracket and we will be forced to find less appealing chocolate substitutes in the market that “don’t melt in your mouth” says Kennedy.
This could make the price of chocolate leap as manufacturers will be forced to increase the use of nuts and other fillings to add bulk to their bars.
The topic of the looming cocoa shortage was a major issue at a recent confectionery conference, Confection Expo, in November.
Kennedy points out that the demand is not the only reason for the potential chocolate crisis but because of the lack of knowledge of how to produce the best yield of cocoa beans and look after them.
“Our ability to produce more cocoa is extremely limited at the moment and that’s because the farming practices are still archaic.”
But how will this affect the chocolate you buy on the high street?
It’s more likely that the chocolate favourites from Mars, Cadbury and Nestle will suffer. Last year London chocolatier Marc Demarquette warned: “Galaxy, Creme Eggs, every kind of £1 chocolate bar will be a thing of the past.”
While John Mason, founder of the Ghana-based Nature Conservation Research Council, forecast something much worse: “In 20 years chocolate will be like caviar. It will become so rare and so expensive that the average Joe just won’t be able to afford it.”