Easter Weekend Musings - ​Should We Be Worrying About Chocolate Availability in the Next Few Years?!

Chocolate is Not a Necessity, But Like Money, It Sure Is Nice To Have!  I am a self-confessed chocoholic, and as with every Easter in the past, this Easter weekend I received an abundance of chocolate! Thank goodness, several doctors have assured me I don’t have the physique of a person ever likely to suffer from diabetes, and as far as I know, no one in my family has ever suffered from chocolate allergies, least of all myself!

Thousands of Lindt Easter Chocolate Bunnies waiting to be bought and devoured !

So I admit I was a little concerned when I first came upon an article on the web a few days ago which suggests world cocoa production may be insufficient to keep up with ever growing demand.

World Chocolate Production Appears to be Insufficient to Keep Up with Demand

The article in theGuardian.com published April 4th 2015 starts by saying: “Easter 2015 may be remembered as the end of the cheap chocolate era: cocoa prices are expected to double by 2020 as the world’s cocoa supplies run low.” They begin by mentioning a few sources to support their headline.

David Guest, professor of plant pathology at the University of Sydney. Guest believes the major causes of this inevitable increase to be:

  • Farmers moving into higher-return crops such as coffee and maize (less susceptible to pests and diseases);
  • Problems around the labor-intensive cultivation of cocoa trees;
  • That 70% of cocoa beans come from West Africa which has seen major political and social upheaval over the past couple of decades.

In addition, Asia, which traditionally consumed very little chocolate, has seen its demand grow by leaps and bounds, particularly in China and India. “In Asia, demand is now rising almost seven times faster than in Europe.” Angus Kennedy, editor of trade magazine Kennedy’s Confection, states: “Demand there, and in Nigeria and Vietnam, has seen consumption increases of up to 230% a year. We are not making enough cocoa.”

In the UK children eat up to 2.5 kilos of chocolate during Easter Weekend alone!

I was curious to know how much Easter chocolate children in Canada eat, but my quick search produced several articles about Easter chocolate consumption by children in the UK (hum – makes you wonder if and why the Brits are more concerned than others over the huge quantities of chocolate being consumed by their kids over Easter …). Well, both articles, one by The Telegraph in 2010 and the other by the DailyMail dated 2014, spoke about large quantities being received and quickly eaten by children during Easter weekend alone. Up to 2.5 kilos in fact! And this is just one Holiday weekend – we all know how much we love to give, receive, and eat chocolate for most any occasion, let alone just to spoil ourselves!

Looking a little further, I discovered that according to the World Cocoa Foundation, people around the world consume more than 3 million tons of cocoa beans annually!

The Luxury Market

Fine Belgian chocolates by Corné Port Royal

Lee McCoy, managing director of online retailer Chocolatiers, which focuses on selling specialty chocolate from around the world, has another point of view. His opinion is that the luxury market will not be greatly affected, since prices for luxury chocolate are already high. He also believes that change in the industry is long overdue, and that any price increase is to be welcomed: “At the moment, only a very small fraction of the price of chocolate actually goes to the growers and so in terms of giving people in Africa and Central America a good wage, this is an exceptionally good thing.”

In Conclusion

One thing is for sure, since the earliest times when chocolate was first produced as a bitter liquor that only rulers could drink (anyone else caught drinking this divine, bitter elixir – for there was no sugar at the time – was publicly beheaded) to our modern times, chocolate has been a sort of celebration. Fine chocolate is an art, and always a delight for true aficionados. Here in Quebec, we have a large number of excellent artisanal chocolatiers, in fact way more than anywhere else in Canada (according to Radio Canada, there are about 500 chocolatiers in the province of Quebec alone, and only about 500 throughout the rest of Canada!).

A giant chocolate Easter bunny in OSCAR's window (Oscar's chocolaterie et biscuiterie on Hochelaga is a Montreal institution!)

I do eat milk chocolate, but rarely – almost only at Easter in fact, when I receive Easter milk chocolate eggs or bunnies (and usually they’re so pretty, I have a hard time eating them at all!). One of my favourite daily treats is a small piece of fine 70% chocolate, slowly melted and savoured on the tongue with a freshly brewed espresso or latte. I’ve been known to scour the city at 2:00 am in search of chocolate because I hadn’t had my fix for at least 5 days. (I was living in Paris at the time. I did find some - you can find anything in Paris at all hours – a ridiculously expensive 450g box of fine Belgian chocolates, of which I ate more than half in one go!). So I suspect for all of you who are like me, of which I know there are more and more, there will never be a shortage of chocolate!

I may not be able to answer all your chocolate-related questions, but I am available to answer all your real-estate related questions, whether they concern the sale or your property, purchase of a new property for yourself or as an investment, or even rental of your property. Don’t hesitate to contact me by phone, via the information request on this website, or via email. It will be my pleasure to serve you!

I also invite you to browse through my other blog articles where you will find information that may be useful to you or someone you know.

~ Marie Paule Lancup, B.Sc., REALTOR®