Today in horrifying news: the world is running out of chocolate.
Chocolate makers Mars and Barry Callebaut are anticipating chocolate shortages in coming years, reports The Washington Post. The industry already can't keep up with how much chocolate the world wants to eat – and it's only going to get worse.
Last year, the demand for chocolate was roughly 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than produced – a difference the industry expects to widen. In fact, by 2020, Mars and Barry Callebaut predict that we will want 1 million more metric tons of chocolate than the industry will be able to churn out. By 2030, the figure could swell to 2 million metric tons, the paper reports.
Why can't chocolate makers keep up the cocoa-hungry customers? Crops of cocoa have been suffering due to dry weather in West Africa, where most cocoa is produced, and a fungal disease that has wiped out around a third of global coca production. The problems are similar to the coffee industry, where a fungus threatens to drag down the global production of coffee by as much as 40 percent.
Increased demand has also played a role in potential shortages. With chocolate consumption increasing in countries like India and China, demand for cocoa beans in Asia has risen 29 percent over the last five years. Plus, the Washington Post says the rising popularity of dark chocolate means more cocoa is used per serving than ever before in the era of the milk chocolate bar.
The long-term future of chocolate looks even more treacherous. The chocolate industry relies primarily on small farms with increasingly elderly farmers and disease-prone aged trees. If the next generation wants to enjoy chocolate, a new generation of farmers is going to have to step up.