The 2016 Cocoa Crisis
This could be the last Easter with real chocolate as the global shortage of cocoa beans and stronger demand is lifting prices, with a new forecast expecting supplies to run dry by the end of 2016.
The demand for cocoa beans has increased sharply in the last 14 months, due to the depleted soils in the Ivory Coast, West Africa. The farms located within Ivory Coast make up for at least 50% of the current cocoa supply.
Should the current rate of cocoa consumption continue, regions including Eastern Europe, Northern America, Australia and New Zealand would have to stop exporting their supply by 2016 to keep up with their domestic demand.
What is causing the cocoa shortage?
Globalisation has seen the demand of chocolate soar, with developing countries such as China and India increasing their middle class with greater disposable income. Our analysis shows that chocolate sales in China averaged a 10 percent growth year-on-year between 2006 and 2010 and is expected to reach US$1.8 billion (AU$2.35 billion) in 2016.
In 2011 demand outpaced supply, with 750,000 metric tonnes more chocolate consumed that what was produced in that year. It's a bleak future for chocolate lovers, as last year’s supply of cocoa produced 4.4 million tonnes while pests and diseases wipe out 30-40% of global production each year.
The current process for harvesting has become difficult, forcing local farmers to give up and try new crops. Once the cocoa beans leave the farm they need be transported to processing plants such as the ones found in Indonesia.
The chocolate process
What does this mean for you?
- Consider stocking up - Take advantage of current chocolate prices and stock up on all your favourites before prices rise.
- Store them properly - Seal them in an airtight container and keep them away from the light. Don’t store them in the fridge as this solidifies the cocoa butter and will make your chocolate hard to eat.
- Keep them in good condition - A chipped or miss-shaped chocolate coin depreciates in value.
- Compare each coin side by side - Dark, white and milk chocolate differ with cocoa volumes. Dark chocolate has a higher density of cocoa and will therefore be worth more.
- Ration your chocolate when cooking other foods - Avoid using large amounts of chocolate to make cakes, cookies, or other desserts.
- Budget for more expensive chocolate - Chocolate will soon become a luxury, make sure you account for this in your budgets from 2016.
Compare chocolate bars
|Chocolate Bar||Official Name||Description||% of Cocoa Solids|
|Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate||Who said treasure isn't wrapped in purple? Cadbury is definitely among our favourite chocolate, but was this milky goodness won't be around forever...||26%|
|Crunchie Bar||Ah, crunchies. They managed to make chocolate even better with an irresistible honeycomb centre.||28%|
|Milky Way Bar||While only covered with an outer layer of chocolate, this is another favourite we may still have to say goodbye to.||25%|
|KitKat||Before the cocoa runs out, have a break. Have a – well, you know.||20%|
|Snickers Bar||Mmm, peanuty goodness. You will be missed.||25%|
|Violet Crumble||A home-grown Australian chocolate hero with a honeycomb toffee center. This bar crumbled its way into our hearts, but it may have to crumble back out again soon.||N/A|
|Picnic||Another chocolate full of delicious peanuts, and another bar that will be sorely missed. You poor, deliciously ugly chocolate bar.||27%|
|Twix||Two bars in a pack, twice as many reasons to mourn what might be the loss of yet another chocolate bar.||N/A|
|Flake||Another childhood favourite. This bar is full of flakey, chocolate goodness, and so will be another likely victim of the cocoa shortage.||28%|
|M&Ms||Their chocolatey centre was how they won their popularity, but it's that chocolatey centre that will be their undoing. Farewell Red, and Blue, and the rest.||28%|
|Maltesers||Who says Maltesers have to be small, malt honeycomb balls covered in chocolate? Oh – oh Maltesers do. I wonder if just malt honeycomb balls will taste as nice?||25%|
|Mars Bar||Delicious caramel and nougat covered in chocolate. Not to be confused with Earth – the favourite chocolate bar on Mars.||25%|