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Soaring Cocoa Prices Threaten Easter Candy Baskets and More

3 weeks ago
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This Easter season, the hunt for chocolate bunnies and eggs might be bittersweet. Consumers are likely to face sticker shock of chocolate prices at the checkout, reminiscient of the price hikes seen on Valentine's Day.

Retail chocolate prices skyrocketed by 11.6% throughout 2023, significantly outpacing overall inflation.

The culprit? A surge in cocoa prices AKA the key ingredient in chocolate.

West Africa, responsible for 70% of global cocoa production, has seen poor weather and crop diseases ravage harvests.

This tightened supply has sent cocoa futures prices soaring, doubling since January and reaching a record-breaking $10,000 per metric ton – a steeper climb than recent surges in Bitcoin and gold.

With Easter candy sales expected to be substantial, concerns loom about how long the chocolate industry can sustain itself as cocoa costs climb. To compensate, chocolate companies are exploring various strategies for your Easter candy baskets.

Diversifying Beyond Chocolate for Easter Candy Baskets

Some companies are turning to alternative treats, like gummies, which don't rely heavily on cocoa.

Hershey's, for instance, has introduced new Easter products featuring caramel, lemon-flavored KitKats, and even gummy bear assortments. They've also partnered with Shaquille O'Neal to promote their gummy line and plan to significantly increase gummy production capacity.

This shift reflects a broader trend. Sales data shows a clear preference for non-chocolate and gummy candies, which grew by 12.1% in 2023, surpassing chocolate sales growth.

Additionally, chocolate unit sales have dipped, indicating consumers are buying less despite higher prices.


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