Saving chocolate

Saving chocolate
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[Ed. – Supply down, demand up?  Sound the alarm.  What’s in your pantry?]

Demand for chocolate is stronger than ever, especially now that more consumers in China and India are buying bars and bonbons long considered an unaffordable luxury. But cocoa production is down, including a steep slide last year in Ghana, the second-largest cocoa-growing country. Cocoa prices have jumped nearly 40% since the start of 2012. …

The problems worry the industry so much that 10 of the largest chocolate producers and cocoa processors agreed in 2014 to begin sharing with each other a wide swath of private data on farming practices and crop yields. The move was unprecedented. …

So far, though, it has been hard for the chocolate companies to agree on how to measure progress. “It has challenges on all sides,” Mr. Guyton says.

Barry Parkin, Mars Inc.’s chief sustainability officer, said the maker of M&Ms and Snickers bars realizes that keeping up with demand “will require a big investment,” since there are “still one to two billion consumers around the world that don’t eat chocolate today, and we think they will.” Mr. Parkin also is the industry group’s chairman.

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