The Great Chocolate Shortage

no more chocolateThe world is running out of chocolate!

That was the gist of the scary headlines last week, courtesy of writers who combined increased consumption in regions like China with fungus in Costa Rica and droughts in West Africa—conflated by the specter of Ebola (!)—to reach their calamitous conclusion.

But I’m not buying it (their argument—not chocolate).

I remember the great lime shortage scare of earlier this year.

And I remember the great banana shortage scare that preceded it.

Yet limes and bananas never disappeared from local store shelves.

Admittedly, lime prices rose for a while, but the talk about bananas (based on the fact the industry has standardized on one variety—monoculture) was just that, talk.

So I expect that I’ll always be able to buy my beloved chocolate.

Because where free markets exist (not Russia, for example) markets adapt surprisingly quickly.

And I’m confident that chocolate markets are robust enough and global enough to adapt to the fluctuations of both supply and demand.

In fact, one peek at a chart of cocoa futures confirms it. There’s no problem here!

nib chart

 

This chart, which shows a distinct drop of 17% over the past month, may in fact augur a coming oversupply—or something else.

In any case, I don’t see any cause for fear. Contrary opinion (or at least skepticism) proves once again to be the proper attitude to a scare story.

The human mind is inspired enough when it comes to inventing horrors; it is when it tries to invent a heaven that it shows itself cloddish. -Evelyn Waugh

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