Thursday, October 8, 2009
Chocolate-lovers face paying more for their fix as the cocoa market endures its biggest shortage for 40 years.
The price of cocoa in London rose to £2 055 a ton this week, the highest since 1985.
The rise is the result of poor harvests on the Ivory Coast, which grows 40 per cent of the world's cocoa beans, as well as trouble with supplies from other major growers.
The El Nino weather phenomenon has hit supplies from Indonesia, the world's third largest producer, and Ecuador, the seventh largest.
This is on top of a three percent surge in demand, fuelled by a move towards western tastes in China and India.
Experts say this is likely to push up the cost of chocolate bars such as Mars Bars, Kit Kats and Dairy Milk.
Andrew Bonfield, of confectionery giant Cadbury, said that if cocoa prices stayed this high "there would be no choice but to increase the price of chocolate".
Experts worry that falling output on the Ivory Coast will leave a lasting global shortage of cocoa.
Farmers there, who are heavily taxed, have neither the funds nor incentives to buy fertiliser or replant to increase output.