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We’re Running Out of Chocolate

We’re eating so much chocolate that plants can’t keep up

(Photo: Richard Eskite/Corbis)
smithsonian.com

We're in the midst of a global chocolate shortage, and it's only predicted to get worse, the Washington Post reports.

This panic-inducing scarcity has actually been going on for a while. Last year, for example, humans consumed 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than farmers produced, the Washington Post writes. By 2030, chocolate makers told the Post "the deficit could reach 2 million metric tons."

What in the world are we doing wrong here? The Post cites a few factors. First, we're eating more chocolate than ever before, especially in growing markets such as China. Our taste for dark chocolate is also on the rise, which is problematic since it contains up to seven times the amount of cocoa as milk chocolate.

Second, as the climate warms, the prime cocoa-growing real estate in West Africa, where most of the world's cocoa is grown, is becoming less welcoming for that crop. A plant disease called frosty pod is also wrecking havoc on cocoa crops and has obliterated up to 40 percent of global cocoa production, the Post reports. More and more farmers are forced to trade chocolate for more dependable crops like corn. 

What this means for you: Soon enough we could be remembering the days when Mast Brothers' fancy chocolate went for $10 a bar as the era of cheap chocolate.

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