Chocolate prices are soaring because Asian markets are in love with the cocoa and the global economy cares nothing about your romantic, reasonably priced Valentine's day gifts.
According the New York Times, cocoa's price rose in 2014, forcing chocolatiers to jack up their prices while slimming down their products. For example, Cadbury decided to use cheaper chocolate for their creme eggs and there was an international outcry. Fortunately that decision doesn't effect the American production of creme eggs, which still uses Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate. iCare.
"What's driving up the price, really, is rising demand for cocoa in Asia, though it also was pretty strong in North America and Europe," said Edward George, head of soft commodities research at EcoBank.
Also, wind. Wind is killing your chocolate-y happiness because "harmattan, a dry, dusty wind that began sweeping the major cocoa producing countries in West Africa in December" and damaged the harvest along with plant problems you've probably never heard of like "witches' broom" and "frosty pod fungi."
Hershey's, Mondelez International, which owns Cadbury international arm, and Lindt & Sprüngli, which owns Russell Stover, the company behind all of those chocolate hearts in your drug store, have all raised their prices by at least eight percent. And while the cost jump has turned off some customers who've either bought cheaper cuts of chocolate or cut out the treat all together, it seems the smaller the company, the better they are absorbing these Tough Dessert Times.
"Our cocoa doesn't even trade at a commodity price because there's so little of it," said Tim McCollum, one of the founders of Madécasse who buys all its cocoa beans in Madagascar. "Prices for Criollo are set in the spot market and go up and down day to day, so we don't really pay attention to what's happening in the commodity chocolate market."
Ultimately, it sounds like if bigger companies like Hershey treat the cocoa farmers better then we wouldn't be in these Tough Desert Times. Why? The farmers would see more profits and stop planting other crops to make up for the money Big Chocolate isn't paying them. Here's hoping Big Chocolate gets it together; meanwhile, I'll be eating my delicious, overly-priced premium chocolate American Cadbury creme egg. Happy Valentine's day y'all.
Image via Shutterstock.