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Valentine’s Day chocolates may break hearts amid skyrocketing cocoa prices

This image shows a bunch of wrapped heart-shaped chocolates on pink-coloured paper strips next to a fake rose. — Unsplash

Valentine’s Day is here and if you’re planning to purchase chocolates for your loved ones, you might be in for a surprise.

The price of cocoa, the key ingredient in chocolate, has reached an all-time high due to crop damage in West Africa, Fox News reported.

As a result, chocolate manufacturers are feeling the pinch, and they’re passing on the price hikes to customers.

World cocoa prices hit a fresh record high for the ninth straight day on Sunday, raising concerns that the supply shortages could be prolonged due to extreme weather and disease-battered cocoa plants in the top-producing West African region.

The benchmark ICE London cocoa futures rose to a record 4,916 pounds per metric ton on Friday before closing up 2.1% at 4,757 pounds/ton.

These prices have more than doubled since the start of last year.

In New York, benchmark ICE cocoa futures hit a new high of $6,030 a ton on Friday, closing up 1.4% to $5,888/ton, having nearly doubled since the start of last year.

This month, a Reuters poll on cocoa predicted a global shortfall of 375,000 tonnes for the 2023–2024 season — more than twice as much as that predicted in the survey conducted in August — signalling the market’s third consecutive shortfall.

The increase in costs is being reflected on retail shelves, and chocolate giant Hershey anticipates a further decline in demand for its goods from consumers who are strapped for cash following a 6.6% decline in sales in the fourth quarter.

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