Cocoa shortages continue to push up the price of chocolate 

According to the latest figures, the price of chocolate has been steadily increasing, with experts blaming the rise on severe cocoa shortages in several countries. 

Changing weather patterns, including severe heat, droughts, and heavy rainfall linked to El Niño, have significantly affected crop yields in key cocoa-producing nations such as Ghana and Ivory Coast. And, to make the situation even worse,  crop diseases and the ageing of trees have contributed to the shortage further.

Reflecting these challenges, cocoa futures reached a historic peak of $10,051 per ton earlier this week. If you’ve recently purchased Easter chocolate or other chocolate products, you’ve likely noticed the increase on your receipt, experts in the industry warn that everyone should brace themselves for the impact in the coming months. 

These experts warn that chocolate prices are expected to remain high for the next couple of years at least. Presently, while general food inflation stands at just over 7%, chocolate prices are soaring, surpassing the national average for groceries by a factor of 30 or more.

Inflation is already having an effect on consumer spending in a number of areas, including basic living costs like food, housing, and utility bills. Price rises could affect spending further. 

For example, according to Datasembly’s live tracking of its Snacks, Cookies, & Chips price index, this segment is up to 60 index points higher than the average grocery prices for items like condiments, frozen foods, produce, and meat.

Furthermore, many confectionery retail supply contracts extend for 23 months, potentially prolonging the higher prices until as late as 2026. Ultimately, consumers may bear the brunt of these costs for the foreseeable future. 

Additionally, consumers should prepare for the possibility of reduced chocolate content in chocolate products. It was recently predicted that confectioners may begin promoting items with lower cocoa content, which means shoppers might have to contend with shrinkflation as well.

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