Valentine’s Day is here and if you’re planning to purchase chocolates for your loved ones, you might be in for a surprise.
The price of cocoa, the key ingredient in chocolate, has reached an all-time high due to crop damage in West Africa, Fox News reported.
As a result, chocolate manufacturers are feeling the pinch, and they’re passing on the price hikes to customers.
World cocoa prices hit a fresh record high for the ninth straight day on Sunday, raising concerns that the supply shortages could be prolonged due to extreme weather and disease-battered cocoa plants in the top-producing West African region.
The benchmark ICE London cocoa futures rose to a record 4,916 pounds per metric ton on Friday before closing up 2.1% at 4,757 pounds/ton.
These prices have more than doubled since the start of last year.
In New York, benchmark ICE cocoa futures hit a new high of $6,030 a ton on Friday, closing up 1.4% to $5,888/ton, having nearly doubled since the start of last year.
This month, a Reuters poll on cocoa predicted a global shortfall of 375,000 tonnes for the 2023–2024 season — more than twice as much as that predicted in the survey conducted in August — signalling the market’s third consecutive shortfall.
The increase in costs is being reflected on retail shelves, and chocolate giant Hershey anticipates a further decline in demand for its goods from consumers who are strapped for cash following a 6.6% decline in sales in the fourth quarter.