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World’s supply of chocolate may be running low

November 18, 2014

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chocolate candy bar
Photo of chocolate candy bar courtesy of Pexels

Chocolate-covered marshmallow trees have already appeared at See’s. No doubt chocolate Stanley Cups are on the shelves of Canadian supermarkets, or soon will be.

Now comes news from the Washington Post’s Wonkblog that the world may be running low on chocolate. That word comes from the world’s two biggest chocolate makers, Mars, Inc., and Barry Callebaut, so you might be forgiven for thinking, “Well, sure, they just want to drive up the price.”

However, the Post says there is data to back up fears of a chocolate shortage. The problem, it seems, are chocolate deficits. That’s where the world eats more chocolate than the available supply. The world is in the longest streak of chocolate deficits in more than 50 years.

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.

Meanwhile, cocoa prices are climbing. Chocolate costs 60 percent more than it did in 2012, when the chocolate deficits began. That is causing chocolate makers such as Hershey’s to raise their candy prices.

What’s a chocoholic to do? You might want to keep an eye on some new chocolate production methods. According to Bloomberg, there are efforts to make cheaper, more widely available chocolate. But that has a counter effect: flavor.

If you’d like to follow up on the chocolate shortage, we’re offering some resources below. And of course, you’ll need to do research. Lots of tasty research.


The International Cocoa Organization

The World’s Top 25 Candy Makers

NASDAQ’s Daily Chocolate Futures Index


  • Micheline Maynard

    Micheline is a contributing columnist at the Washington Post concentrating on business and culture. She has written about flooding in Detroit, tainted water in Benton Harbor, nationwide shortages of restaurant staff, and vaccine hesitancy.

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