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Chocolate Lovers Beware

Fellow chocolate-worshippers, the apocalypse will soon be upon us.

Well, perhaps not. But Mars, Inc. and Barry Callebaut, two prominent chocolate producers, recently claimed we are, though slowly, running out of chocolate.

The chocolate industry is currently stuck in the midst of a long-lasting chocolate deficit. Each year, chocolate consumption surpasses the rate at which cocoa can be grown. Considering we have been on a multiple-decade streak of yearly cacao shortages, this may cause concern for candy consumers.

The sheer difficulty of growing cacao plants, particularly in the areas of Africa that rely on its production is one reason for the shortfall. Dry weather has taken its toll on West African plants, and a virulent fungal disease has made matters worse. As a result, many farmers have focused their efforts on more stable and profitable crops.

But the decreasing production certainly has no effect on cacao demand. In 2013, for example, consumers around the world ate 70,000 metric tons more chocolate than was produced. And if you think that’s bad, some estimates claim that we will eat 1 million metric tons more than we can produce in 2020.

Scientists have been working to engineer trees that can produce greater quantities of cacao, but they are unsure what effect this may have on the taste of the fruit.

At this time, all we can do is hope that the beloved, mouth-watering chocolate treats don’t disappear anytime soon.

Written by Andrew Zhang’16


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