Valentine’s Day chocolates may break hearts amid skyrocketing cocoa prices

Valentine's Day

With Valentine’s Day approaching, those intending to buy chocolates for their loved ones may encounter an unexpected surprise. The cost of cocoa, essential for chocolate production, has soared to unprecedented levels due to crop damage in West Africa, as reported by Fox News.

Consequently, chocolate manufacturers are experiencing financial strain and are transferring the increased costs to consumers.

Global cocoa prices surged to yet another historic peak on Sunday, marking the ninth consecutive day of record highs. This escalation raises apprehensions regarding prolonged supply shortages caused by severe weather conditions and disease outbreaks affecting cocoa plants in the primary producing region of West Africa.

ICE London cocoa futures, the industry benchmark, reached an unprecedented 4,916 pounds per metric ton on Friday, concluding with a 2.1% increase at 4,757 pounds per ton.

In New York, ICE cocoa futures reached a fresh pinnacle of $6,030 per ton on Friday, culminating in a 1.4% rise to $5,888 per ton, almost doubling since the beginning of last year.

A recent Reuters poll on cocoa forecasted a global deficit of 375,000 tonnes for the 2023–2024 season, more than double the prediction from the survey conducted in August. This indicates the market’s third consecutive deficit.

The surge in expenses is now evident on retail shelves, with chocolate behemoth Hershey bracing for a further downturn in demand for its products, following a 6.6% sales decline in the fourth quarter. These prices have more than doubled since the beginning of last year.

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