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Cost of Valentine's Day Chocolate Jumps Due to Climate Patterns in West Africa

2 months ago
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You are not imagining it if you are thinking that you are spending more money than usual for that Valentine's Day chocolate this year. Cocoa prices are soaring around the world due to a number of climate issues in West Africa.

Here is what you need to know about the sticker shock of that chocolate for Valentine's Day.

Hershey's Reports Struggling Profits Due to Issues With Cocoa Crops on a Global Scale

It is going to be an expensive Valentine's Day as the price of cocoa continues to climb to unprecedented levels. Hershey Co. announced last week that it was being forced to slash 5% of its workforce due to the increasing costs of producing its chocolate products. The company is struggling to remain profitable as shown by its less than stellar fourth quarter earnings report.

Ongoing climate issues in West Africa are being blamed for the steep increase in the cost of cocoa. This part of the world is responsible for over 60% of total cocoa production around the planet. The weather problems have resulted in damaged cocoa crops that have reduced the production and led to price increase.

Cocoa futures have doubled over the past year, climbing 40% in January alone. This increase is passed down to consumers who are now having to pay more to enjoy the treat. For instance, the price of Hershey's products increased 6.5% in the fourth quarter of 2023. Prices for Hershey's chocolate in North America jumped 9% over the course of last year.

Hersey's is not the only company feeling the impacts of the surging cocoa prices. Other chocolate companies around the country have reported the same impacts with smaller mom and pop stores also experiencing the pinch.

The latest report from the food and beverage division at CoBank detailed that retail chocolate prices are up approximately 17% over a period of two years. What is most alarming for the industry is that economists predict that this increase is going to continue for the foreseeable future as the impacts of climate change become more apparent.



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