Andrea Illy, chairman and CEO of Illy Cafe told Bloomberg that increased consumption, particularly in emerging markets, means we’d need an extra 40 million to 50 million bags of coffee in the next decade to keep up with demand. That’s more than the entire crop of Brazil.And for chocolates, we are in the midst of what could be the longest streak of consecutive chocolate deficits in more than 50 years.
WHY WE ARE SAYING SO
The situation is worsened by climate change and low prices.Climate change means farmers in Brazil could lose a quarter of their output, while those in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Mexico also face losses if they don’t adapt.At the same time, we’re all drinking more coffee. According to the International Coffee Organization , demand will increase by nearly 25 per cent over the coming five years.Consumption is increasing as societies in India, China and Latin America continue to be Westernized.The problem is, for one, a supply issue. Dry weather in West Africa (specifically in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, where more than 70 percent of the world’s cocoa is produced) has greatly decreased production in the region. A nasty fungal disease known as frosty pod hasn’t helped either.Then there’s the world’s insatiable appetite for chocolate.
WHAT WOULD IT TAKE TO RESOLVE THE CRISIS
Efforts to counter the growing imbalance between the amount of chocolate the world wants and the amount farmers can produce has inspired a bit of much needed innovation. Specifically, an agricultural research group in Central Africa is developing trees that can produce up to seven times the amount of beans traditional cocoa trees can. The uptick in efficiency, however, might be compromising taste.cacao growing regions remain some of the most undeveloped and unstable parts of the world and farmers face significant challenges in bringing production up to speed.
WHAT BIG COFFEE AND CHOCOLATE PRODUCERS HAVE TO SAY
“One estimate is that global production will need to increase by one million tonnes per year by 2020 – from 3.6 million tonnes in 2009 and 2010 – to meet global demand,” the Daily Mail quoted Guest as telling The Register.
“… cocoa prices have climbed by more than 60 percent since 2012, when people started eating more chocolate than the world could produce. And chocolate makers have, in turn, been forced to adjust by raising the price of their bars”, says Bloomberg’s Mark Schatzker.
Efforts are under way to make chocolate cheap and abundant — in the process inadvertently rendering it as tasteless as today’s store-bought tomatoes, yet another food, along with chicken and strawberries, that went from flavorful to forgettable on the road to plenitude. It’s unclear anyone will mind a milder flavor if it keeps prices down. And the industry certainly won’t mind, so long as it keeps the potential for a gargantuan shortage at bay.