CHOCOLATE may soon be in such short supply, it will only be available as a luxury item to the wealthy.
AS CNBC.com reports, increasingly scarce supplies of cocoa beans, ingredient costs and concerns about child slavery involved in cocoa bean production may price one of the world’s favourite sweets out of reach for many people.
Substitutes like palm oil and chemical flavourings and fillers will increasingly make up “chocolate” bars, while the real stuff will be at a premium.
“People are prepared to pay $113 per kilogram for chocolate,” said Angus Kennedy, a former chocolate taster for major manufacturers.
He warned the world could find itself with a shortage of cocoa beans within seven years.
“The industry is keeping it fairly quiet at the moment, but they’re all looking very carefully at the situation over the next few years.”
Chocolate production costs have soared, rising by more than 25 per cent each year.
The price of cocoa butter, the vegetable fat extracted from cocoa beans which makes up about a quarter of every chocolate bar, has reached a four-year high and whole milk powder, another major component, rose more than 20 per cent.
World Vision has led a campaign to end child labour in cocoa bean production in West African countries like Ivory Coast and Ghana, which are leading global producers.
The world’s biggest chocolate consumers are Europeans.