Chocolate prices have tripled. What does that mean for your Easter egg

Easter season is underway at Toronto’s The Chocolateria, where the walls are lined with bunny-shaped chocolate treats, chocolate eggs wrapped in colourful foil, and delicate “smash” eggs paired with a mini chocolate hammer.

If only the main ingredient weren’t so expensive: Cocoa prices have tripled in the last 12 months due to the spread of bean disease among cacao crops in West Africa, where more than 70 per cent of the global cocoa supply is produced.

The resulting cocoa crisis is pressuring chocolate makers who, during the typically busy Easter holiday, are trying to sustain business — and sweet-toothed customers who are trying to curb spending.

“We’ve seen a regular increase in prices for our raw materials, which makes it harder for us to keep our prices down,” said Priscilla Tallo, manager at The Chocolateria.

“There’s some people who have made it clear that they can’t afford it anymore,” she added. “Most of our customers have been understanding. They see that everything is going up. So they understand why our prices are increasing.” One of the store’s chocolate suppliers increased its prices by 11 per cent in the last year.

The global chocolate industry is reportedly worth more than $100 billion US. But with cocoa prices hitting a record $10,000 US per metric ton on Tuesday, it’s likely that your Easter treats might look a little different this year, as major chocolate manufacturers look for creative ways to make chocolate less, well, chocolatey.

A woman smiles for a photo while posing in front of a shelf filled with chocolate treats.
Priscilla Tallo, manager of The Chocolateria, is pictured in front of the store’s Easter display in Toronto’s Roncesvalles neighbourhood. She says the shop has had to raise their prices in response to high chocolate costs. (Nisha Patel/CBC)

Cocoa harvests threatened by disease, weather

Cocoa production is down by about 30 per cent this year, mostly due to atypical weather patterns, according to Sophia Carodenuto, an assistant professor at the University of Victoria who studies the cocoa supply chain. 

“Too much rain, not enough rain, unpredictable weather patterns, but also disease,” Carodenuto said.

“Cacao is a very sensitive tropical tree,” and is predisposed to diseases like black pod disease and swollen shoot virus.

WATCH | Poor cacao harvests are making chocolate prices skyrocket: 

Poor cocoa harvests cause bitter price increase for Easter chocolate

Poor harvests of cocoa — the key ingredient in chocolate — have driven up prices of the raw material, and it’s showing up on store shelves this Easter.

Three years of poor cacao harvests have impacted production in Ghana and Ivory Coast. Processing plants, which transform cacao beans into the substance used to make chocolate, are increasingly unable to afford the raw material.

Farmers might be trying to plant more of these trees now, but the fruits of their labour might not be ready for quite some time. New trees will likely be harvested in three to five years, Carodenuto said.

Apart from a few areas that produce cocoa at an industrial scale,…

Read More: Chocolate prices have tripled. What does that mean for your Easter egg

Leave a comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.