Demand for chocolate fuels surge in price of cocoa

The Omicron variant has done nothing to dampen Americans’ sweet tooth.

Demand for chocolate remains high nationwide as retail sales rose by more than 5% per quarter, according to Bloomberg.

The high demand coupled with tightening supply has led to a sharp spike in the price of cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate.

Cocoa prices have risen by more than 8% since December. At the close of trading on Wednesday, cocoa was selling at $1,720 per pound.

According to Bloomberg, one of the largest exporters of cocoa, the Ivory Coast, is sending fewer cocoa beans to ports.

But there was such an oversupply of the beans from last year that it has kept the price of chocolate relatively cheap compared to other foods that have become more expensive in a time of record-high inflation.

Stockpiles of cocoa at US ports have fallen for the past 17 weeks and are down more than 20% from last year.

Other commodities showed modest gains, including raw sugar, arabica coffee, and cotton.

The price of cocoa beans has reached a two-month high thanks to continued high demand for chocolate.
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Port Clinton, PA - March 18: Foil wrapped solid chocolate Easter Bunnies made by Niagara Chocolates on display in the Port Clinton Peanut Shop. Easter Candy at the Port Clinton Peanut Shop in Port Clinton, PA Thursday afternoon March 18, 2021. (Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)
Americans spend $20 billion per year on chocolate.
MediaNews Group via Getty Images

The US chocolate market is valued at around $20 billion. That number is expected to reach $26 billion by the end of 2026.

The confectionary industry which includes makers of chocolate, candy, gum and mints generates $37 billion in retail sales domestically each year, according to the National Confectioners Association.

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