The Great Chocolate Crisis – Prices Continue to Soar


The cost of chocolate is skyrocketing, and much to the chagrin of chocolate lovers it is reaching new and dizzying heights.  At the heart of this dilemma is the cocoa bean, the essential ingredient that makes chocolate a favorite indulgence among old and young alike.  The demand for chocolate (in many forms) now far exceeds the available supply of cocoa causing the prices to spiral upward in ways not seen previously in this industry.

Within the last few weeks, the cocoa market witnessed a historic movement, a benchmark cocoa future ascended to an astonishing $8018 per metric ton – a staggering increase of 25% in just one week and a 215% increase compared to the previous year.  You will no doubt have already seen the cost of your favorite chocolate bar or candy increase in price.

This high price has particularly affected large African cocoa processors (they transform the raw cocoa into chocolate for chocolate companies).  Faced with such high-priced bean costs, many have been forced to curtail production – a move that is felt through the entire chocolate supply chain.

More About Cocoa:  Cocoa trees, the source of the cocoa bean, thrive only within a slender, equatorial belt making their cultivation both a science and an art.  The four West African nations that supply nearly 75% of global cocoa are the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, and Nigeria and it is the Ivory Coast that produces almost half of the supply alone.  Unfortunately, adverse weather and bean diseases have reduced recent harvests, and this coupled with decades of underinvestment in new trees has led to lack of supply and increased prices.  This season, the cocoa market faces a shortfall of 374,000 tons (last year the shortfall was only 74,000 tons) as reported by the International Cocoa Organization.

Higher Prices Will Continue:  The scarcity of beans this year is compounded by an increased global appetite for chocolate.  Decades ago, chocolate was considered a luxury for the wealthy to enjoy but it has now become an everyday treat.  In 2023 the price for chocolate in various US retail outlets climbed by 11.6 percent compared to 2022. Well-known manufacturers like Hershey and Cadbury’s parent company Mondelez have advised customers of more increases to come based on high cocoa prices.

As this crisis unfolds it is evident that innovations in cocoa cultivation are urgently needed including additional investment in new trees to increase raw material supply.

Lily Noon


  1. Chocolate Prices are Skyrocketing – and it Has Very Little to do with Inflation by Stacey Leasca, updated March 19, 2024, Food & Wine,
  2. International Cocoa Organization,
  3. Chocolate Prices Are Soaring. New Technology Could Help, Says U of G Food Scientist, University of Guelph,
  4. Cocoa Prices Spiked to An All-Time High Right Before Valentine’s Day by Alicia Sedyukh, February 12, 2024, NPR,
  5. The Chocolate Crisis is Here by Neal Freyman, March 17, 2024, Morning Brew,







Lily Noon


  1. Chocolate Prices are Skyrocketing – and it Has Very Little to do with Inflation(チョコレート価格が急上昇 ― インフレとはほぼ無関係)、著:Stacey Leasca、2024年3月19日更新、Food & Wine、
  2. International Cocoa Organization(国際カカオ機関)、
  3. Chocolate Prices Are Soaring. New Technology Could Help, Says U of G Food Scientist(チョコレート価格が急上昇:ゲルフ大学の食品研究者が新技術の対応策を提案)、University of Guelph、
  4. Cocoa Prices Spiked to An All-Time High Right Before Valentine’s Day(バレンタインデー直前にチョコレート価格が史上最高に値上がり)、著:Alicia Sedyukh、2024年2月12日、NPR、
  5. The Chocolate Crisis is Here(チョコレートに危機到来)、著:Neal Freyman、2024年3月17日、Morning Brew、

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