Increasing Demand For Chocolate Outstrips Cocoa Supply


“Money cannot buy happiness. But it can buy chocolate, which is pretty much the same thing.”

-Hanako Ishii

Chocolates have been a source of happiness for those who consume them because it contains serotonin. Improved serotonin content in our body improves our happiness and livens up our mood accordingly.

Have you ever thought about the origins of chocolate? If you have, then this article will answer your doubts!


Chocolates originate from cacao trees. Cacao trees produce cocoa beans which are then packed into sacks and sold to intermediaries where they are then manufactured into chocolates. The cocoa beans are first processed by intermediaries in their factories. The beans are crushed and the shells are then removed, roasted, and finally grounded. The product is cocoa liquor which is then used to manufacture chocolate, or is further processed to cocoa butter and cocoa powder.

The market forecast for cocoa and chocolate is set to be a lucrative business. There is an increasing demand for chocolate. An average Westerner consumes approximately 22lbs of chocolate every year – the same as 220 small bars of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. Ten cacao trees are required just to supply that number of bars. 3.5 million tonnes of cocoa are produced each year. However rising incomes in emerging economies like India and China, combined with anticipated economic recovery in the rich North Hemisphere, have led to industry forecasts of a 30% growth in demand to more than 4.5 million tonnes by 2020.


Unfortunately, despite this positive outlook for chocolate, global demand of cocoa and chocolate is expected to outstrip its supply. The increasing demand for chocolate is overtaking its supply. As prices of food and other costs rise, negative implications are brought upon the farmers. Low revenue attained by the farmers translate to low productivity and poverty in farming communities. The failure to capture sufficient value from their crop means that many cocoa farmers are abandoning the industry in search of greener pastures. Many of their children see no future in cocoa and are switching to more profitable rubber production or heading for the cities in the hope of finding a better life .

As a result, the average age of cocoa farmers in West Africa is now 51, leading to grave concerns across the industry about the long-term sustainability of the supply chain: no cocoa farmers lead to no chocolate bars in future. Moreover, most of these farmers use obsolete farming techniques and lack funds to invest in fertilisers or in replacing ageing trees past their peak productivity.

The rate of production of cocoa and chocolate is apparently slower than its consumption rate. The increasing demand for chocolate calls for the supply to be increased i.e. more land should be allocated to increase the supply of cocoa and there should be greater earnings granted to the farmers in the stakes that they hold. A paradoxical situation is presented for the case of cocoa and chocolate. The cocoa business sees a good market for itself in the near future while at the same time, a gloomy market for chocolate may result in the long run due to supply deficits. More needs to be done to ensure the longevity of cocoa and chocolate or regret will be the product of our inaction. As quoted by Marja McGraw, “Chocolate is something you take for granted until you don’t have any.”

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By: Zaki

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