Don't panic, we might face a chocolate shortage soon
Apparently we've been eating too much of the good stuff
This might be some of the most terrifying news we've encountered. According to the Washington Post, the nightmare of a global chocolate shortage might come true.
Two of the world's biggest chocolate makers, Mars, Inc. and Barry Callebaut, have commented that we're consuming more chocolate than farmers can produce. You read that right: we're eating too much chocolate, all of us. Drop that chocolate bar now and no one will be harmed.
One of the reasons for the decreasing supply is the dry weather in West Africa, where more than 70% of the world's cocoa beans are from. Another reason is the fungal disease on plants known as frosty pod which makes farming cocoa beans pretty difficult. Because of these difficulties, a lot of farmers are abandoning farming cocoa beans which results in a production decrease from 30% to 40%.
Are you crying yet?
However, though production is decreasing, the demand for (and obsession with) chocolate has continued to grow. China is buying more than usual, driving up prices by 60% since 2012. Calm down, China. The rest of the world needs chocolate too!
If supply doesn't find a way of meeting demand, the chocolate situation might turn really bad by the time we reach 2020, when we could face a one million metric ton chocolate deficit... a huge spike from last year's 70,000 metric ton deficit.
But just as we're about to run to the nearest shop to buy a lifetime's supply of chocolate, an agricultural research group in central Africa offers us a glimmer of chocolate coated hope. The team is currently working to develop a tree that can produce up to seven times more cocoa beans. The flavour might be a bit milder but, well, a lighter chocolate is better than no chocolate at all.
For now, start rationing. Think twice if you really want that Dairy Milk. Think really hard.