The world’s top two chocolate makers, Barry Callebaut and Mars, have declared that the global supply of chocolate is being rapidly depleted. The cause for the depleting chocolate supply is simple: the public is consuming TDM chocolate where TDM stands for “too damn much”. In all candor, it is true that global demand for chocolate has been rising. It is a sign that poverty rates are declining as people have sufficient funds to invest and enjoy the tasty confection. Normally, Bruce Levenson tells me that rising consumer demand is a good thing in any market sector.
However, West Africa, which accounts for 70% of the world’s cacao supply, has struggled with the emergence of a nasty fungi called Moniliophthora roreri aka “frosty pod”. The fungi has destroyed between 43% and 57% of the cacao crops in the Ivory Coast and Ghana. This has resulted in a decrease in the global supply of 30% to 40%. In 2013, global demand consumed 70,000 metric tons more cacao than was produced. Some analysts believe that by 2020, the world will consume 1 million metric tons more than is currently produced and that it will double by the year 2030.
While doom & gloom scenarios seldom ever play out, it does paint a stark picture that supply is not keeping pace with demand. This will ultimately necessitate the rise in the price of chocolate. Further complication matters is that many cacao farmers have switched to crops like corn which are not only easier to grow, but pay handsomely as well.