Easter egg prices could soar as the demand for cocoa increases

Professor Tim Benton (Biology) comments on the growing demand for cocoa creating a potential “choc-apocalypse”.

Food security expert Professor Tim Benton claims we are heading towards a “choc-apocalypse” with poor production and panic helping to create a shortage.

A shock report, Destruction of Chocolate, said a growing hunger for choccie bars in so-called developing countries was driving the crisis.

Experts are fearful that shelves could be empty of Easter Eggs in future. Prof Benton, from the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds, said: “Demand for cocoa is growing fast and it is not clear what stocks are held across the world.

“This creates a recipe for price uncertainty. This can drive up prices, lead to panic buying and create the potential for a price spike.

“If there is a bad production there is scope for a ‘choc-apocalypse’. Chocolate could become a treat rather than a daily delight.”

The report says 10 cocoa trees are needed to produce 286 bars, the average number eaten by a Western customer every year. But new markets such as India, Brazil and Indonesia are opening up, placing a huge strain on hard-working farmers.

More than 70% of the world’s cocoa production comes from Ghana and the Ivory Coast in west Africa and stockpiles are said to be falling.

Report author Doug Hawkins said: “We could have a chocolate deficit of 100,000 tonnes in the next few years.”
Prof Benton added that “unpredictable” weather could also devastate this year’s crop.