The world faces a chocolate shortage with demand outstripping supply as prices have already risen 25% this year.
Reports have stated the shortfall will rise to one million metric tonnes by 2020 – and as much as two million by 2030.
Paul A Young, master chocolatier and owner of four self-named specialist chocolate stores in London, told British Baker: “There is no easy answer. The big multinationals have created some of the problem by not paying the growers what they should be getting, so there is little incentive for the growers to keep cultivating cocoa.”
Other factors impacting supply include the rising average age of farmers, the ground becoming tired, crop disease and – essentially – consumers eating more than is being produced.
According to Mintel, 76% of UK consumers eat some type of chocolate at least once a week with 16% munching daily and 27% indulging two to three times a week.
“We pay very high prices from smaller producers so it won’t hit us initially. We haven’t changed our prices but may have to review that next year,” added Young.
“There is a lot of hype about running out of chocolate; that may not be the case, but it will become more expensive and more of a luxury item, as it was 60 or 70 years ago.”
Young pointed to carob as a possible alternative, which is used in dogs’ chocolate and has “improved” in recent years.
*Look out for a deeper analysis of the chocolate shortage in the next issue of British Baker, out on 28 November.