Is the World Running Out of Chocolate?
In news that could make parents hoard their kids' Easter candy for themselves, experts say that in the coming years, the world could very well run out of chocolate.
The demand for chocolate goes up about 2.5 to 3 percent annually, which means manufacturers need roughly four million more tons of cocoa every year -- a number that is only expected to rise.
So, cocoa farmers can just grow more, right? Wrong. Cocoa is a finicky, fragile plant that needs rich soil and tropical, humid conditions to thrive. And unfortunately, that type of land in that type of setting is hard to come by.
"Cocoa has been almost completely static," said Andrew Pederson, global chocolate manager for candy maker Mars, Inc. "The crops don't perform well. They're aging pretty badly. Farmers don't have a lot of tools and training."
Robert Peck, senior director of operations for the World Cocoa Foundation, added, "It takes time to influence the product of the trees. Results don't happen overnight."
And while it's not yet time to panic or steal those chocolate bunnies from your little one's holiday basket, Peck did say improvements need to be made to extend the supply chain. "We have to start thinking, where is that increase in supply going to happen and how are we going to get it?"
Pederson concurred, adding, "We want to make sure people can continue loving it without any cares or worries, except for having too much."