By Ishan Kukreti
Prepare to say goodbye to that need-to-cheer-up chocolate bar, that lets-make-up chocolate bar, that late night wolfing of chocolate-chip ice cream tub, that killer of melancholy, that sex substitute for many. It’s no secret now. Everyone who is anyone in the chocolate manufacturing business, from coca farmers to ‘chocolate experts’ have the same thing to say. The world will very shortly face a crippling chocolate crisis.
Cocoa- the stuff of chocolate
The cocoa produce have been lower than chocolate consumption for a long time now. The chocolate hungry world, last year consumed 70,000 metric tons of cocoa above what was produced. This trend is likely to last till 2018 according to Bloomberg. Predictions are that the deficit will be as high as 2 million metric tons by 2030.
Bad climatic conditions, Ebola threat among other issues have been the factors behind the fall in cocoa production in West Africa, source of 70% of world’s cocoa.
Anyone with basic knowledge of economics can sense a threat here. The cocoa prices will sky rocket and in turn make chocolate a rare delicacy. In fact the trend can already be seen manifesting itself. Cocoa prices rose by 60% in the last few years and just the last year recorded a jump of 24% in the crop price.
Search for a rebound
But as they say, one man’s loss is another man’s gain, this loss of cocoa farmers will surely kick off a frenzied search for chocolate substitute. In fact the search has already started. And maybe the search party will go back happily with a box of Indian sweets from Haldiram’s or Bikaner.
Can chocolate, which started from the New World find a substitute in the Old World? Can we imagine unwrapping a Ferrero Rocher to unveil a laddu? Tearing up the wrapper of Cadbury’s milk chocolate to eat little squares of barfi?
Necessity is the mother of all needs and tastes can be cultivated. How a man leaves his earlier addiction to find new ones to keep him company is all that the struggle ahead is about.