The price of chocolate is tipped to get more expensive next year, for a variety of reasons:

On the supply side -

Woman picking Cocoa. Image: www.theguardian.com

Woman picking Cocoa. Image: www.theguardian.com

The devastating Ebola outbreak in West Africa is likely to impact on world chocolate prices in the near future.

West African nation being hardest hit from the Ebola outbreak produce two-thirds of the global cocoa crop. 80 to 90 per cent of these producers are small, family-run operations.

Being small operations they are fragile to community upheavals, such as that being experienced now. Furthermore, the introduction of mega-crop farming equipment, such as that used in the west, is both too expensive and inefficient to increase yields.

On the demand side –

Asians and Latin Americans are acquiring a taste for chocolate. These previously small markets are growing fast. And with current research aimed at increasing the melting point of chocolate a huge market in warmer countries will emerge.

West African Cocoa. Image: www.tigweb.org

West African Cocoa. Image: www.tigweb.org

The Asian market is tipped to grow by 23 per cent, the Latin American market by a whopping 31 per cent; both in the next five years. Compared with a sluggish 8.3 per cent forecast for North America and 4.7 per cent for Western Europe over the same period, and you can see why chocolate producers are looking to expand.

But when demand outstrips supply, as will obviously happen, prices skyrocket. These recently publish forecasts alone were enough to push the price of cocoa beans to a staggering $3,371 a ton in September.

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