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The Chocolate Crisis

- By Caroline Garrett, A&E Editor -

Valentine’s Day is here, and we are once again surrounded by flowers, cards, and, of course, chocolate. Personally, I love chocolate, both on Valentine’s Day and year-round, and always have some on hand.

Unfortunately, access to the sweet treat in the future may be threatened due to what is known as “the cocoa crisis.” Manufacturers say the supply of cocoa beans is declining and we may experience extreme shortages in the next couple of decades, for many reasons. According to The Guardian, cocoa farmers in some areas of Africa are having trouble making a living and are switching to other plants. In Indonesia, crops have been attacked by disease and pests, decreasing output.

Worldwide, more products contain chocolate, and more people are buying them. As consumption increases, production cannot keep up, resulting in rising prices. In 2010, the classic Hershey milk chocolate bar cost just $0.70; today, the cost is $1.29. Experts from the Cocoa Research Association estimate that the price of chocolate will increase seven times by 2030.

What to do about the terrifying possibility of having to spend a fortune on Valentine’s Day chocolate? We can begin to address the cocoa crisis through environmentally friendly behaviors and fair working conditions for farmers. In the meantime, we can be conscientious consumers of chocolate this Valentine’s Day-whatever you do, don’t let it go to waste, and hit those post-Valentine’s Day candy sales!


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