Why chocolate prices are likely to skyrocket soon

Heap of broken pieces of chocolate Getty Images/HUIZENG HU
Heap of broken pieces of chocolate Getty Images/HUIZENG HU

You might want to stock up on chocolate for Easter pronto — because chocolate prices are likely bound to explode very soon. According to Food & Wine, cocoa prices are at a 47-year high. What caused this?

Inflation plays a part, but the bigger issue at hand is that cocoa cultivation in both Africa — specifically Ghana and the Ivory Coast — and Ecuador has reportedly become much more complicated due to climate change, as well as drier weather patterns and rainfall changes. In addition, there was a shortage of cocoa "due to that unfavorable weather coupled with crop disease and smuggling" in Ghana; the smuggling is thought to have accounted for approximately 600 million in lost revenue as per the Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Kathleen Wong writes in USA Today that "as of last month, the world price for cocoa has more than doubled over the last year," noting that the global price "shot up over 75% . . . per metric ton" from January to March of this year. Wong also writes that "cocoa trees are especially sensitive to climate change, only growing in a narrow band of approximately 20 degrees around the equator." She also notes that some candy companies have even begun "shrinking the size of their chocolates . . . [or] reducing the cocoa ingredients in their products."

According to Food & Wine, Hershey's prices have actually already raised throughout North America by about 9% since last year.