Find The Nearest Chair, Sit Down: Chocolate Makers Warn Of Impending Global Shortage

As I write this, I am clutching a bag of individually wrapped chocolate morsels and imagining the most satisfying rationing plan I can think of, as panic threatens to seize my heart and throw me into a fit of anxiety. Yes, people, there’s a global chocolate shortage on the horizon, and it’s coming for you.

Now that we’ve set the scene, let’s dial down the panic just a bit and get to the real story, which is yes, we’re chocolate gluttons and if we don’t stop shoving it in our gobs at the rate we’ve been shoving it, we could run out, eventually, reports the Washington Post.

Two of the world’s biggest chocolate makers, Mars, Inc. and Barry Callebaut, are behind the chocolate deficit message — a deficit occurs when farmers are producing less cocoa than the world is eating — saying we’re in the middle of what could be the longest streak of consecutive chocolate deficits in more than 50 years.

In 2013, the people of the world gobbled about 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than it produced, putting us on track to consume 1 million metric tons by 2020, the chocolate-makers say. And by 2030, the deficit could reach as high as 2 million metric tons.

So what’s causing the cocoa hold-up? Dry weather in West Africa where more than 70% of the world’s cocoa is produced has cut production there, while a fungal disease dubbed “frosty pod” has wiped out an estimated 30%-40% of global cocoa production.

And the more hits the cocoa crops take, the less attractive it becomes to farmers, who could end up switching to crops that are easier to grow and more profitable, like corn.

The recent affinity for dark chocolate is also cutting into the cocoa supply, as it contains more cocoa per bar than the average milk chocolate bar. Our predilections end up costing us more in the end, as cocoa prices have climbed more than 60% since 2012, the year we started eating more chocolate than could be produced. When the supplies cost more, the product costs consumers more, as chocolate-makers have had to increase the price of chocolate bars to adjust.

Do your part, stop eating chocolate. Just kidding, I can’t ask you to do something I can’t do myself. Start hoarding.

The world’s biggest chocolate-maker says we’re running out of chocolate [The Washington Post]