I have some bad news. The spread of Ebola, the horrific disease that has claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 people in western Africa, has already started to negatively affect the chocolate production. In a way, we're all victims.
Ivory Coast is the world's largest producer of cacao (the basis of chocolate), bringing in about 33 percent of the world's total cacao bean supply. It also shares a border with Liberia and Guinea, two of the three countries affected by the outbreak of Ebola. Ivory Coast shut down its borders with the two nations in August, keeping out much of the workforce needed to pick the cacao beans—and the main harvest season has just begun.
As a result, the World Cocoa Foundation has created the Cocoa Industry Response to Ebola Initiative, collecting donations from companies like Nestlé and and Mars—on Wednesday, they will announce exactly how the funds will help the Red Cross and Caritas Internationalis stop the spread of Ebola. Meanwhile Hershey's is confident that even if the disease spread to Ivory Coast and Ghana (another huge producer), they'd still be able to get their damn beans, via CBS:
"Our suppliers have assured us they will be able to continue to supply our cocoa orders without interruption, even if the disease begins to impact the major cocoa-growing countries in the region," Jeff Beckman, Hershey's director of corporate communications, tells CBS MoneyWatch.
That seems like a terrifying fixation on the product in face of an epidemic and the loss of human life, but okay. The outbreak may not bring chocolate production to a screeching halt, but chocolate prices could skyrocket as a result. So enjoy that Reeses while you can. A day may come when you will have to pay three whole dollars for the world's worst chocolate products (sorry Hersheys, but it's true and we all know it).
Image via AP.