Chocolate Will Be as Expensive as Caviar

In just 20 years as African farmers abandon the crop

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Chocolate industry experts say that in just 20 years, chocolate will be as expensive as caviar, Anthea Gerrie reports for the Independent. African farmers, who produce a huge chunk of the world's chocolate supply, are abandoning their farms because the work is so backbreaking and the pay so miserable. Their children are leaving for the city where they can life a better life.

Meanwhile, demand for chocolate is rising sharply as the Chinese and Indians develop Western a sweet tooth. "The biggest hope," Gerrie reports, "is a Nestlé project to replant 10 million trees over the next decade." But that will replace just a quarter of the trees lost in recent years. By 2030, we may face a depleted, miserable world in which only the rich can afford a chocolatey snack.

  • Science Comes to the Rescue, Rebecca Boyle reports at Popular Science. Mars, Inc. IBM and the Ag Department have banded together  to fund a sequencing the genome of the cacao tree. Mars rival Hershey is working on a cacao genome sequence of its own. "Despite its importance to 6.5 million farmers worldwide, cacao is considered an 'orphan crop' because it is not as well studied as corn, rice or soy." Researchers also want to figure out how to breed the trees to be more resistant to fungi.
  • The Chocolate Rush Begins? Dave Thier wonders at Surge Desk. "In July, one British hedge fund manager made a huge bet  on that phenomenon and bought 240,000 tons of cocoa beans in what seemed like an effort to corner the market. He didn't see the dramatic price increases he was hoping for, but even so, the price of chocolate rose steadily to a three-decade high in August."
  • Fake Chocolate Threat, Today's Laura T. Coffey reported way back in 2008,that Hershey's had switched out its expensive cocoa butter in its recipes for vegetable oil The USDA forced the company to change labels from "milk chocolate," for example, to "chocolate candy" or "chocolatey."
  • Stock Up Now, Cameron Scott at The Thin Green Line "Glenn Beck be damned: Don't buy gold bars; buy chocolate."
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