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Can Climate Change Affect the Chocolate Industry?

The International Center for Tropical Agriculture found that a predicted combination of changing temperature and rainfall patterns could dramatically affect West Africa, which supplies about two-thirds of the world's cocoa. If the changes in climate occur, the amount of land that works well for growing chocolate will dramatically decrease from the years 2030 to 2050, which would not only drive chocolate prices up into the luxury goods range but would also have a negative impact on farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, where cocoa production represents about 7.5 and 3.4 percent of those countries' gross domestic products, respectively.

More facts about chocolate:

  • Three main varieties of cacao beans are used to make chocolate: forastero, criollo and trinitario. The notoriously difficult to grow criollo is the rarest type, making up only about 5 percent of all cacao beans grown. Forastero beans are the most commonly grown.

  • Chocolate has been part of United States military rations since 1937. Most varieties of military chocolate, which are designed to withstand temperatures as hot as 140° Fahrenheit (about 60° Celsius), are made by the Hershey company.

  • As of the late 2000s, it cost about $3,000 US Dollars per 2,204.6 pounds (1 tonne) of chocolate.
Discussion Comments
By Viranty — On Mar 09, 2014

Great article with interesting facts. Also, I didn't know that there was chocolate made to withstand extremely high temperatures. If so, why aren't they sold in stores?

By RoyalSpyder — On Mar 08, 2014

@Chmander - I agree with you. People usually buy chocolate around the Holidays, when the weather is nice and cool. However, this article is talking about the climate change in a sense that it affects the cacao beans, which are used to make chocolate. It's harder to produce chocolate when the weather patterns are all over the place, especially in this day and age.

By Chmander — On Mar 07, 2014

Just my opinion, but I thought climate change could also affect the chocolate industry in the sense that chocolate melts very easily. After all, do people even eat it in the hot summer weather? Some do, but I doubt it's a lot of people. It's way too messy, and too much of a hassle. In the winter, it's pretty much the opposite.

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