Life is rough when you cannot get your chocolate. All you chocolate lovers understand. Unfortunately, chocolate bars may become a little smaller, more expensive, and they may have more air bubbles. Reporting for Bloomberg Businessweek, Isis Almeida and Olivier Monnier, with Baudelaire Mieu explain the recent challenges in the chocolate industry (Enjoy Those Chocolate Hearts While You Can 2/11/132/17/13, pp. 1920):
Due to shortages and political instability, cocoa prices experienced annual swings of more than 20 percent in 10 of the past 20 years. Prices were below $1,000 a ton in the early 1970s and more than tripled by the end of that decade. By 1989 they were again below $1,000 a ton. Cocoa climbed to a 32-year high in 2011 but has since fallen 74 percent. After peaking at more than $2,700 in September, the price has slumped 18 percent to about $2,220. (p. 20)
The wide volatility of pricing has induced some farmers to replace cocoa crops with more lucrative items such as rubber and palm oil. Whats a cocoa farmer to do?
So what does all this mean for you and me? We had better enjoy our chocolate even more, but perhaps just in smaller quantities. Oh, well . . . maybe that is a good thing.
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