No need to panic yet, but there have been signs in recent years of an impending chocolate shortage. As far back as 2015, the Mars Candy Company, an $18 billion bonbon giant, reported they might eventually run out of chocolate’s essential ingredient, cocoa, if a disquieting trend continues. Ironically, the problem has been a growing worldwide appetite for chocolate and the demand could posssibly outpace supply.
The most current data shows the Swiss as the leading chocolate-eating population with each citizen downing over 19 pounds a year. Germans, Austrians and Irishmen each consume over 17 pounds per annum. In America, the annual per person chocolate consumption is much lower, at under 10 pounds, in spite of the fact that chocolate is essentialy a vegetable product, with added milk, and not on the taboo list of moderate vegans.
There has been, for years, a general feeling of unease in the industry about a possible unmanageable increase in chocolate’s populatiry. In India, for instance, the annual chocolate consumption per person has been about a pound and a half. In China it’s just over two pounds. But suppose most of the inhabitants of these hugely populated countries became chocolate chewers and semi-addicts like many of us?
The pandemic has temporarily added other problems for Mars and their competitors with airports and hotels having reduced product demand and the West African cocoa farmers being hampered by Covid-19 safety rules.
It would be premature to liken this to the recently invented “toilet paper crisis”. Chocolate hoarding would not be a good idea. If you’re like me, you’ll devour your six-month stash in a few weeks. After all, we chocohaulics are only flesh and blood and unfortunately, blubber.
If the worst happens we should unite and oppose as we did, the so-called oil shortages and high prices of OPEC. We will have to learn how to get by on fewer Milkyways per mile and to join candybar pools. We might also campaign for more product availability by encouraging the construction of a chocolate syrup pipeline from Hershey, Pennsylvania. I would gladly sign an easement allowing the line to cross my backyard and possibly, my basement.