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The Washington Post reports that the world may be heading for a chocolate shortage.

According to the story, "Chocolate deficits, whereby farmers produce less cocoa than the world eats, are becoming the norm. Already, we are in the midst of what could be the longest streak of consecutive chocolate deficits in more than 50 years. It also looks like deficits aren't just carrying over from year-to-year—the industry expects them to grow. Last year, the world ate roughly 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than it produced. By 2020 … that number could swell to 1 million metric tons, a more than 14-fold increase; by 2030, they think the deficit could reach 2 million metric tons."

Part of the problem is supply - weather changes have caused a decrease in cocoa crops. And the rest of it is demand - more people eating more chocolate than ever.
KC's View:
Of course, it also is possible that this is just a story ginned up by chocolate product manufacturers looking to drive up demand and prices and get people to start hoarding. (Does the Halloween candy I stash in my freezer count as hoarding?)

One of the things that is disturbing about the story is the industry contention that one way to address the problem is develop methods of growing cocoa that will be more resistant to weather issues, but could also make chocolate less intense and flavorful. "It's unclear anyone will mind a milder flavor if it keeps prices down," the Post writes. "And the industry certainly won't mind, so long as it keeps the potential for a gargantuan shortage at bay."

If this happens, it may be just one more case where the culture has been willing to accept lowest-common-denominator product … which, in my view, just pushes us one step farther down the path toward the end of western civilization as we know it.