Chocolate is becoming ever more rare. Will it be tomorrow’s caviar?

Chocolate is becoming ever more rare. Will it be tomorrow’s caviar?

We know that the future isn’t how it was supposed to be—it’s 2010, and we have neither jet packs nor flying cars (iPads don’t make up for their absence)—but today we learned that the future might be bleaker still, as the maw of humanity gobbles down the last of the world’s chocolate. According to a piece in the U.K.’s Independent, chocolate’s days are numbered:

In the future, chocoholics might have to work quite a bit harder to pay for their fix. The world could run out of affordable chocolate within 20 years as farmers abandon their crops in the global cocoa basket of West Africa, industry experts claim.

“Galaxy, Creme Eggs, every kind of £1 chocolate bar will be a thing of the past,” warns London chocolatier Marc Demarquette, who believes a bar at £7, or its future equivalent, will be more like it. And Demarquette, who worked as an advisor for a recent BBC Panorama documentary on the troubled West African cocoa fields, is not alone. John Mason, executive director and founder of the Ghana-based Nature Conservation Research Council, has forecast that shortages in bulk production in Africa will have a devastating effect: “In 20 years chocolate will be like caviar. It will become so rare and so expensive that the average Joe just won’t be able to afford it.”

The main reason for this looming catastrophe seems to be that the small farmers who grow most of the world’s cocoa aren’t getting paid enough to expand production. We’re not economists, but it seems like there’s a market for fair-trade chocolate to go with its successful coffee counterpart. Add some organic milk, and hopefully Toronto will still be able to get its mochaccino fix in 2030, even if it costs a bit more.  It’s either that or live in a world with no chocolate, and in that world we’re pretty sure the living would envy the dead.

• Chocolate: Worth its weight in gold? [The Independent]
• In Twenty Years Chocolate Will Be A Rare Delicacy [Popular Science]