But don’t start hoarding chocolate bars just yet. According to a few Raleigh chocolate experts, we found out the threat is real—but greatly exaggerated.
And the shortage is really only linked to cheaper chocolate.
Disease, poor farming practices, climate change and supply chain problems all affect the price of your chocolate bar.
The chocolate shortage relates mostly to beans grown in Africa, where the majority of the world’s cacao is grown on plantations. Farmers there are under increasing pressure to sell their crops for less money, and some cocoa is even grown by forced labor, says Videri Chocolate Factory co-CEO Sam Ratto.
Ratto says this chocolate “shortage” is being exploited by Big Chocolate to raise prices as they enter new markets.
Escazu Artisan Chocolates head chocolate maker Hallot Parson isn’t panicking.
“We don’t buy any African cacao at all,” Parson says. “Not to say there isn’t some decent stuff, but for the most part it’s bulk-grade beans.”
Both Escazu and Videri use cacao grown in its indigenous Latin America, bought from farmers they know. They pay a premium for quality cacao to make their high-end chocolate.
Bottom line: Your cheaper chocolate could cost more due to a smaller supply. Just spend your money on the good stuff for better value all around.
By the Numbers
58M: Pounds of chocolate Americans will buy in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day
$345M: What Americans spend on chocolate for Valentine’s Day.
Your chocolate box
Forrest Gump was wrong. You can know what you’re going to get:
Round: Soft centers like truffles, creams and whips
Oval: Butter fudges