This Is Why Chocolate Is Costing You More Right Now

This Is Why Chocolate Is Costing You More Right Now

It’s never fun hearing about a price increase on a beloved product, but why, god, why does it have to be chocolate? Recent events have driven up the price of the sweet stuff, and it could be getting worse.

Let’s break down how much chocolate prices have increased and why it’s happening.

Why are chocolate prices so high?

A quick scan of the Woolworths or Coles websites turns up this. A plain Cadbury Dairy Milk block costs you $5.50, an average-sized bag of Maltesers is $5.50, and a box of Cadbury Favourites at RRP is $32! Even our beloved Tony’s Chocolonely is sitting at $8 a block. This is some cinema pricing madness (and lord knows what heights those have risen to).

Admittedly, I had just assumed this was the flow-on effect of inflation, but it turns out there are a few reasons chocolate prices are particularly high.

Analysts at Rabobank confirmed that cocoa prices are up by 25 per cent year on year. Sugar prices have also increased, with the cost in Australia recently hitting $800 a tonne, the highest it’s been since 1980, according to the ABC.

With cocoa and sugar being two of the main ingredients in chocolate, it’s easy to see why the sweet treats have skyrocketed in cost.

There are a few reasons for this.

As per Rabobank’s analyst Pia Piggott, major production regions in Africa have had low production outlooks due to limited fertiliser availability and higher fertiliser prices. The La Niña wet weather event has also caused “rotting and diseases” in trees.

The International Cocoa Organisation’s market report in April confirmed a supply deficit of cocoa in the 2023/24 year due to reduced production.

Meanwhile, sugar is actually seeing a surplus for 2023-24, but this could cause its own set of issues:

“That’s quite a small surplus, and we’re expecting that if there’s any increase to the severeness of El Niño that could certainly mean downward revisions to output in various countries and possibly tipping the scale back into a deficit,” Piggott said.

In response to all this, Rabobank analyst Michael Harvey said consumers would likely decrease their chocolate intake in response to these price increases.

Will prices continue to rise?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like chocolate prices are set to stabilise, either.

Cocoa contracts are quite long, which means consumers probably haven’t seen the full impact of the cocoa shortage on supermarket prices just yet.

As cocoa-growing regions now move into an El Niño hot weather event, this could also cause additional problems for cocoa farmers as they are hit with potential droughts and fire events.

As prices continue to rise, CNBC predicts that dark chocolate will be hit the hardest as it contains a higher volume of cocoa solids. Pour one out for the 97 per cent dark fans.

It seems that, for a while at least, chocolate truly will be a luxury treat and one to be had sparingly in our diets.

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