CONSUMER

Here’s why there’s a looming chocolate shortage

Mar 29, 2024, 7:11 PM | Updated: 7:36 pm

LOGAN —There’s no end in sight for a major chocolate shortage, and Utahns might start to see it as a consumer in more ways than one.

Stever Bernet is often a tour guide, as manager of the Aggie Chocolate Factory. The shop is, after all, on the Utah State University campus as a learning tool for students.

On Friday he shared a lesson in the economy of the cocoa bean.

“The Easter bunny is going to find chocolate a little more expensive this year and maybe next year, even more expensive,” Bernet said.

Over 70% of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa, he said, and right now, conditions there are less than ideal.

“The harvest last October was terrible,” Bernet said. “There is another one coming up in May, starting in May and it’s not looking good either.”

Cocoa beans in a small container at the chocolate factory.

Cocoa beans in a small container at the chocolate factory. (KSL TV)

Yields were down about 30%t fall because of the weather. Bernet said it’s impacting prices everywhere.

“If you’re a small chocolatier, perhaps you once paid $5,000 for an order of chocolate. Now, all of a sudden, you have to pay 20,000,” he said.

Several other factors are adding to this: a shoot virus, some European markets choosing not to buy from less-sustainable farms, and a fight over government-set cocoa prices in Ghana.

Benet said, “It’s a little out of the ordinary, I would say.”

This is why prices will likely continue to rise. Bernet said you may start to see less chocolate in some candies.

“And you may have also noticed that the size of the bar has shrunk,” he added.

Now you know why that little indulgence will be more costly in the foreseeable future.

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Here’s why there’s a looming chocolate shortage