You've Been Warned: The Price of Chocolate is Rising

Monday, July 28, 2014

Consolation is a box of chocolates (Image: Hans Lindqvist/Wikimedia Commons)

Earlier this year, The Takeaway reported that shortages of limes, avocados, and pork have sent prices of margaritas, guacamole, and bacon sky high.

And now it looks as if the unthinkable is happening: Mars and Hershey have announced that they will be boosting the price of chocolate products price by seven and eight percent, respectively. Grim news.

What’s driving the increase? And more importantly: How do we cope?

Dan Pashman, the host of WNYC’s Sporkful food podcast, and author of the forthcoming book, "Eat More Better,” says there are two reasons that the price of chocolate is going up.

"One is there have been poor yields from major cocoa producers going back now several years," Pashman. "Sixty-eight percent of the world's cocoa comes from Africa, and a lot of the trees there are getting old and sick, and reforming the industry there has been very difficult. It's actually one of the few agribusiness industries where a huge amount of the crop actually still comes from very small, local farmers."

In addition supply problems, Pashman says that there has been a greater demand world wide for higher cocoa content in chocolate products. 

"People love their cocoa," says Pashman. "I do have a couple tips for folks who maybe want to stretch their chocolate dollar a little bit farther. In an upcoming episode of The Sporkful, I talk to a guy who makes chocolate in Hawaii. He identifies two different types of chocolate eaters: Melters and chompers."

A melter, as the name suggests, is someone who patiently holds a piece of chocolate in their mouth until it melts away, while a chomper chews a pieces of chocolate relatively quickly. Pashman says that the former can save money, and allow the eater to savor the chocolate.

"You may be able to eat less chocolate if you let it melt in your mouth because it would take so long and you would get so much flavor from it," he says.



Dan Pashman

Hosted by:

Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

Megan Quellhorst


T.J. Raphael

Comments [5]

David Cagle from New York

Hovering above Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood on the 9th floor of an inconspicuous office building is Chocolat Moderne, the High Holy Temple of chocolate. After tasting the array of subtle (award winning)chocolate flavor combinations, price fades into insignificance, although they are far and away the best chocolate value - period.
At the moment, my wife and I have a commuter marriage. She works in Brussels, one of the planet's chocolate epicenters. She lovingly brought me the finest Brussels chocolate on every visit -until- we discovered Chocolat Moderne...

Jul. 29 2014 04:31 PM
Jim from NYC

Mast Brothers chocolate, out of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, can raise their prices all they want. At $10 a bar, they are in a different class than all the chocolate flavored and blended sugary crap out of Europe. Remember, "choc-o-late" means "food for the gods", and Mast chocolate maintains an historical connection to the product--a 16th century American substance, stollen by the Conquistadors, bastardized in Holland and London, and junk-fooded back to us via Mars and Hershey's.

Jul. 29 2014 10:37 AM
Stancheck from North Plainfield, NJ

Despite this story being about the increase in chocolate prices, I would have appreciated it, since the host and guest talked about it, if it were mentioned that Hershey outsourced a number of manufacturing jobs to Mexico and obviously has used the saved cost to line their executive's pockets. So why would chocolate prices go up so much since corporations like Hershey saved a bundle by destroying jobs and using cheaper labor elsewhere? I know it's a bit more complicated in regards to the international cost of cocoa but it's still crooked if we are talking about Hershey.

Jul. 28 2014 06:59 PM
Tracy Shaffer from San Francisco

Blathering over Hershey in a discussion of 'real' chocolate indicates that you have no taste, or a taste for corn syrup and inorganic chemistry.

Jul. 28 2014 03:47 PM
jeffrey farber from new york city

heard you today talking about chocolate. just wanted to let you know i get my chocolate fix daily by putting a huge tablespork full of unsweetened powder, i mix hersheys dark and nestles tollhouse cocoa, into my morning oatmeal....i also add peanut butter,greek yogurt, wheat germ & flax seed but it's the cocoa powder that makes the pot i think.

Jul. 28 2014 03:41 PM

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