When my English teacher asked me what I would do if I had the chance to do one last thing before dying (we were studying Dr Faustus’s last monologue in Marlowe’s play), I said that I would eat loads of chocolate. What sweeter way to go? 🙂
However, we probably won’t be able to stuff ourselves with our much-craved chocolate as a cocoa shortage is likely to cause chocolate to run out by 2020.
How can that be, I hear you ask!
Dry weather in West Africa (specifically in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, where more than 70 percent of the world’s cocoa is produced) has greatly decreased production in the region. A disease called Frosty Pod has additionally destroyed around 30% and 40% of the world’s cocoa production.
China and India now have a very sweet tooth. The demand for cocoa from these regions has increased, putting pressure on global supply, and Western tastes for dark chocolate, which uses more cocoa than regular milk chocolate, is also speeding the rise in cocoa prices.
Farmers in the countries that produce cocoa, bought by the multinationals who control the market, have found the harvest disappointing. The rewards they have received do not provide incentives for the time-consuming work of replanting, as their trees die off, and this means moving to a new area of canopied forest and waiting three to five years for a new crop to mature.
Another reason why we are running out of chocolate is that we use it more often and in all kind of dishes.
Have you ever heard of chocolate covered sun-dried tomatoes, chocolate-calamari soup and chocolate covered crisps? Well, according to culinary critics these combinations actually work. I’m not sure whether I’d like to eat fish and chocolate or even cheese and chocolate, the one thing I’m sure about is that I love chocolate and I’d rather eat chocolate on its own, than experiencing all these weird flavour combinations.
Furthermore, seeing as it takes around two years for a cacao seedling to deliver leafy foods and 10 years for its flavour to grow, many of them have been chopped down and replaced by rubber plantations, which give a better profit. This confirms that it is only a matter of five to ten years before cocoa beans will be a thing of the past.
Cocoa could be replaced by cheaper ingredients, such as sugar and vegetable oil, that will make the bar of the future more floppy in texture and sweeter in taste.
The worst thing of all is that we know that we all contributed to the shortage!
We should all rediscover the specialness of chocolate and stop taking it for granted. Have one really wonderful chocolate rather than a big box of something disgusting, enjoy it and don’t eat it in two seconds!
The only thing that cheers me up is that peanut butter could be an excellent substitute in my last hour 🙂