I heard recently to my dismay, that the world will soon be facing a chocolate shortage. As a self-confessed chocoholic I decided to do some research...
I found a video on Time.com which was useful in explaining why cocoa farmers are struggling to keep up with demand. Ghana and the Ivory Coast produce around 70% of the world's cocoa. Drought and a fungal disease which has killed off 30-40% of the cocoa trees have dramatically reduced the crops, and ebola has meant migrant workers have not been allowed to cross borders and help harvest the cocoa beans. The video can be found here:
I also came across an interesting, and very thought provoking article describing cocoa farmers from the Ivory Coast tasting chocolate for the first time. I watched the video in disbelief that these hard working farmers had never actually tasted chocolate, or seemed to really know up until that point, what actually happened to the cocoa beans that provide their (very low) income. I have to say that having watched it, I feel quite ashamed of how chocolate is taken so much for granted in other parts of the world, when it is clearly such a luxury to the people responsible for us being able to enjoy it. I am making an early New Years resolution to only buy Fair Trade chocolate from now on, and my kids will be enjoying more ethical confectionary this Christmas. Please watch the video here:
Time's website explained the serious environmental factors which are causing problems for chocolate production, but I also found an article from The Guardian explaining how "posh" chocolate, and the modern trend of using chocolate in unexpected recipes has added to over consumption. Chocolate with up to 70% cocoa is becoming increasingly popular (although personally I don't know why, I'm not a fan). The article also highlights the menu options available at ChocoChicken in LA; would you be tempted by chocolate fried chicken served with chocolate ketchup and white choc fried potatoes? I can't say I would!
The article also features a "chocolate-lovers code of conduct" with suggestions how we can all help ensure chocolate never becomes a thing of the past...unthinkable!
Think how many broken hearts have started to heal with a little chocolate, or what a nice romantic gift for Valentines day it provides. Somehow, "do you love anyone enough to give them your last Haribo" doesn't have the same ring to it. In case you've no idea what I'm talking about, it was a famous tagline from the Rolo ads. I found this website, you can now buy all sorts of Rolo merchandise, but chocolate was the inspiration for the romantic gesture so many of us remember.
I hope the chocolate shortage can be resolved soon, and I certainly have more gratitude for the hard work involved in producing my favourite treat. What are your thoughts on a chocolate shortage. Any ideas how to improve the situation? I would love to hear the opinions of my fellow chocoholics.