Unfortunately for chocolate lovers, the price of those favorite sweets is on the rise due to two factors.
Extremely dry weather conditions in West Africa where the cacao beans are grown and harvested are creating a lack of crops. Cacao beans are seeds that rest inside a cucumber-shaped fruit. This fruit grows from the cacao tree.
Cocoa kernels grow inside the coat and the kernels are the key ingredient for cocoa. Cocoa is then used to create our favorite chocolate bars and truffles.
Approximately 75 percent of the cocoa beans come from West Africa, where the predicted dry weather spell will damage a portion of the crops.
The second factor producing a rise in the cost of chocolate and cocoa is the demand for the sweet stuff. With recent studies proving dark chocolate to be a healthier choice, the demand is causing prices to rise. More cocoa beans are used to produce dark chocolate.
Cocoa prices have risen about 21 percent in the 3rd quarter. With the high demand for dark chocolate, prices will rise to fit both the demand and the difficulties in West Africa to produce enough to fit the need.
The chocolate business brings in about $83 million per year, according to Markets and Markets research firm. The industry holds a value greater than the Gross Domestic Product of more than 130 nations on the planet.
Who loves chocolate the most? Reports show that Europeans eat nearly half of all the chocolate produced in the world. British, German and Swiss chocolate lovers consume around 11 kilograms or 24 pounds of chocolate per year.
In a study performed in the UK, men and women love the taste of chocolate just about equally. According to the study conducted by Mintel researchers, 91% of women eat chocolate and 87% of men eat their fair share.
Asian consumers eat only 6 ounces of chocolate per year, followed by the Chinese consumers who eat an average of 3.5 ounces.
Valentine’s Day is a huge opportunity for the industry, selling about 58 million pounds of chocolates in the U.S. alone. That brings in a healthy paycheck of $345 million in that week alone. This is about 5 percent of chocolate candy sales for the entire year, according to Nielsen research.
Africa produces more than 75% of the chocolate in the world. The Ivory Coast gives us about 35% of the world’s cocoa and more than ¾ of the entire world’s cocoa, while the residents of Africa only consume about 3 percent.