Someone Call Willy Wonka! We’re Running Out of Chocolate

Nov 17, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
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An Ecuadorean Pacari Chocolates employee works at the factory in southern Quito, on March 25, 2014. Pacari Chocolates is a family-owned company which produces gourmet-quality chocolate with native flavours and has won several international awards

Photo credit: RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images

Where are the Oompa Loompas when you need them?

Early Monday morning, a statement was released by two of the world’s largest chocolate makers explaining the impending shortage of chocolate that will occur worldwide by 2020.

The announcement, made by Mars Inc. and Barry Callebaut, shocked chocolate lovers worldwide. The world is experiencing one of the longest production shortfalls of chocolate in nearly five decades, which will raise the price of chocolate and decrease the size of candy bars in the near future.

According to Switzerland’s Barry Callebaut Group, a significant increase in the demand of chocolate helped double chocolate prices from what they were eight years ago.

The two major factors mentioned as causes for the shortage are the decreased production of cocoa beans as well as the increase of people consuming chocolate–especially in China. China has more than doubled their chocolate sales over the past decade, although they still consume per capita about 5 percent of what the average Western European eats.

Ecuadorean Pacari Chocolate is seen at the factory in southern Quito, on March 25, 2014. Pacari Chocolates is a family-owned company which produces gourmet-quality chocolate with native flavours and has won several international awards

Photo credit: RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images

But neither China or Western Europe are really the problem at large. It has to do with global cocoa production.

The Washington Post reported that “last year, the world ate roughly 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than it produced. By 2020, the two chocolate-makers warn that that number could swell to 1 million metric tons, a more than 14-fold increase; by 2030, they think the deficit could reach 2 million metric tons.”

West Africa is experiencing severe dry weather conditions that are slowing down the production of cocoa. 70 percent of the world’s cacao beans are produced in West Africa, specifically in The Ivory Coast and Ghana.

Along with the poor weather conditions in these countries, frosty pod, a fungal disease, has also affected the production of cocoa beans in a significant way. According to The International Cocoa Organization, frosty pod has destroyed between 30-40 percent of global cocoa production, not to mention the Ebola outbreak that has forced farmers and workers into quarantine, halting production of the beans.

Hershey's chocolate bars are shown on July 16, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Hershey Co., the No.1 candy producer in the U.S., is raising the price of its chocolate by 8 percent due to the rising cost of cocoa. This is the company's fist price increase in three years

Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images

These two major chocolate producers have also registered an increase in the popularity of dark chocolate–which takes more cocoa to create than the average milk chocolate candy bar.

Researchers are figuring out longterm solutions for the shortage of cocoa beans. They are working towards creating trees that produce a larger supply of cacao beans than traditional trees. However, genetically modifying the cocoa trees will also change the taste of the chocolate produced, and some believe for the worst.

This may be the only immediate solution to the lack of supply. In the meantime, Mars Chocolate Inc. “opened a £170million new plant in Kansas earlier this year to meet rising demand, and last month Barry Callebaut announced it would pour £7.3million into its factory in Sao Paulo, Brazil,” according to DailyMail.

If you are afraid of missing out on that delicious, original taste, start stashing those candy bars now! Buy in bulk, hide your stash, and tell no one. Watch the video below for some eye candy.


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