Hershey’s and Cadbury both have indicated they may raise prices on their respective products because of increasing costs of cocoa. This is reportedly mostly due to adverse weather conditions affecting production rates, per ABC News.

According to Food Dive, chocolate prices are expected to also rise over the rest of 2024 — the cost of cocoa “has never been higher” and breaks a prior record from 1977.

Why is chocolate so expensive?

Seventy percent of global cocoa production is rooted in West Africa. And right now, the area is experiencing rising temperatures alongside higher rates of precipitation, reported ABC News. It becomes more challenging knowing that cocoa trees need to grow in a particular climate — 20 degrees within the equator.

For example, reports found that the last crop season witnessed heavy rainfall, which causes higher rates of disease among cocoa plants. Along with the challenges of extreme wind and drier temperatures due to El Niño, cocoa harvests have come up short three years in a row, reported USA Today.

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Additionally, global sugar prices are up by about 8% this year, rising last year by 2.7%, per Food Dive.

These weather complications, in addition to overall inflation, have led to larger chocolate companies like Hershey’s and Cadbury paying more for the limited supply. This in turn has forced companies to sell their products at higher prices, leading to decreased sale volumes in recent quarters — despite increases in net profit margins in 2023, according to ABC News.

Eggs are pricier, too

Food Dive reported that eggs are also increasing in price, due to both Easter approaching and a highly pathogenic avian influenza impacting egg-laying flocks. The outbreak, occurring since 2022, has led to the culling of more than 82 million flocks across the U.S. and Canada.

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And more recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s inspection reported 13.64 million egg-laying hens dying from the flu since last November.

This outbreak has led to the potential rise of egg prices as a result of decreased production rates.

“Egg prices have always been volatile throughout history, but (highly pathogenic avian influenza) has amplified the market response because of lower supplies of eggs,” Sector Manager Kevin Bergquist, from the Wells Fargo Agri-Food Institute, told Good Morning America.

Could this affect overall Easter sales?

The National Retail Federation expects a drop in overall Easter sales this year — but not comparably to previous records. Its report estimates that $3.1 billion will be spent this year on Easter candy, alone, compared to $3.3 billion from last year, per ABC News.

Because of general inflation pushing manufacturers to raise prices, non-essential purchases like chocolate are declining in demand among consumers.

“Luxuries like chocolate, which typically are impulse buys at the grocery or convenience store checkout, will suffer,” David Branch, sector manager with the Wells Fargo Agri-Food Institute, told USA Today.

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