The price of chocolate could soar over the next few years as surging demand puts further pressure on the global cocoa crisis – and experts predict the demand could become unsustainable by 2020. Experts are warning that a growing taste for chocolate in Asia – particularly in China – means cocoa farmers will need more help to provide a greater amount to export or manufacturers will be forced to use less cocoa in their products. It is predicted chocolate prices will soar to keep up with the rising demand – otherwise consumers will increasingly be offered products filled with substitutes, such as nuts and fruits, to ‘pack out’ chocolate bars. The news comes as millions of people across Britain are set to indulge in Easter eggs and chocolate treats this weekend. It is estimated that the growing demand for cocoa will be unsustainable by 2020, unless more is done to help cocoa growing communities. Most cocoa farms are situated along the west coast of Africa – where many farmers are said to be living off less than $2 a day. In December, the International Cocoa Organisation said there could be a 150,000 tonne deficit of the amount of cocoa beans produced in 2014. The organisation said global cocoa supplies were heading towards the longest production shortfall in more than five decades. The rising demand for cocoa has already seen prices soar – and its feared prices could continue to rise. The chocolate market in Asia is already worth more than $12billion and demand is continuing to increase. In March, cocoa prices reached a two and a half year high at £1,896 per tonne in London and US$3,031 per tonne in New York.
However, unless more is done to help cocoa production, the crisis will continue until it becomes unsustainable. Mondelez International – a multinational confectionery, food and beverage conglomerate – said it had pledged to invest more than $400 million to help ease the crisis. Over the next ten years, it is set to pump millions into Ghana, Ivory Coast, Indonesia, India and the Dominican Republic to help improve the productivity and life of cocoa farmers. Chris McGrath, head of the Cocoa Life programme at Mondelez, told The Times: ‘We realised that there was a long-term supply shortage. ‘Farmers are ageing and I don’t see the next generation behind them. We have to help transform the chain.’ The International Cocoa Organisation also said plans were in place to help cultivation in Indonesia. With investment in cocoa processing industries growing at a fast rate in the country, the Government is considering cancelling tax on cocoa bean imports as production levels have fallen short in fuelling the country’s domestic grinding requirements. MailOnline