The world is running out of chocolate, as climate change is diminishing thousands of hectares of the precious cocoa crop. Farmers are increasingly giving up on cocoa cultivation, as it is getting harder and harder to sustain it profitable. The result? Chocolate will never taste the same again, and here is why.
Climate change is happening and there is no amount of sugar-coating that we can put on the issue to make it sound less frightening and serious. Policies are written, rules and regulations are introduced, yet many people are still adopting the attitude of: “it will not happen to me”. I cannot help it but think about an illustration related to climate change, which had two parts. The first part says: “things that melt” and had a corresponding image of a Antarctica and Greenland. The second part says: “things we care about melting” and had a picture of an ice-cream cone.
Now we got it, though. Climate change is tapping into one of our most precious indulgences. Chocolate! Rising temperatures and increased drought in West Africa, the world’s biggest producer of cocoa, have damaged thousands of hectares of the crop, and have driven farmers away from cultivating it.
Not only that the overall production has dropped significantly, 40% to be exact, but also the world’s consumption of the product has increased. China is the leader in chocolate intake, and it is actually the dark chocolate, the one with highest percentage of cocoa in it, that takes their fancy.
The question that arises here of course is, will we allow the world to run out of chocolate, or are we going to do something about it? I’m guessing most people will say that the most obvious solution would be to cut down emission now and try to slow climate change, but no.
Agricultural researchers have come up with something else. A new cocoa tree is being developed as we speak. This one will produce 7 times the amount of beans that normal cocoa plant generates, and it will be much more susceptible to changing temperatures. The downside of this is that the taste is likely to change, and in order to make the new product taste like the one we eat today, the industry will have to introduce much more additives and artificial tastes.
I have no idea what to advice here, it seems both options are quite wrong- buy more now so you can indulge on it while you can, or buy less so it lasts longer?! Bottom line is, it is very likely that the news headlines will one day read: Chocolate used to have health benefits in the past.
Image (c) Getty