Nothing lasts forever, and in this case we’re referring to chocolate. Yes, the world is running out of chocolate. According to reports from chocolate giant Mars Inc. and the world’s largest chocolate manufacturer, Barry Callebaut, cocoa farmers are producing less and less each year, and seeing as how cocoa is the essential ingredient in chocolate, one of humanity’s favorite tasty treats is on its way to extinction.
When making chocolate, cocoa beans are fermented, roasted, and crushed/grounded. They are sent through huge presses that separate the cocoa butter from the cocoa powder. Chocolate is the cocoa butter which has been emulsified with milk and sugar.
Abengouro, in the east of Ivory Coast, has been the world’s biggest cocoa producer for generations producing 70% of the world’s cocoa bean supply – but in a year of fresh warnings of a global shortage by 2020, they say their livelihood is far from undemanding. They thoroughly know the hardships such as the risk of diseases, inconsistent rains, and buyers. Also, with aging trees that yield fewer pods each year and the onerous task of harvesting, more farmers have been giving up on their plantations.
Chocolate deficits, where farmers produce less cocoa than what the world eats, are becoming the norm. Every year the world eats 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than produced and by 2020 the number will swell to over 1 million metric tons each year. This demand, along with droughts, and fungal disease fears, will send the price of chocolate soaring making it a more expensive, and rare commodity.
In a lecture in 2012, Fiona Dawson, who was at the time the president of Mars Chocolate UK, warned that the chocolate industry could be in trouble.
“The global cocoa sector may suffer a one-million-ton shortage by 2020 because of the increasing economic and environmental pressures on cocoa farms,” Ms Dawson said. “It’s just not sustainable.”
The editor of the trade magazine Kennedy’s Confection has spoken out on the chocolate shortage issue. He predicted that the chocolate bar of the future will be made with cheaper ingredients such as sugar and vegetable oil instead of the more expensive cocoa.
Interestingly enough, John Mason, of the Ghana-based Nature Conservation Research Council said that “in 20 years, chocolate will be like caviar. It will become so rare and expensive that the average Joe just won’t be able to afford it.”