Chocolate bunnies are getting more expensive this year.
How could this be so? Blame it on bad weather and the rising demand in Asia that are pushing up prices of cocoa, a vital ingredient in chocolate making.
The milk chocolate index (yes this is a real thing), which tracks prices of commodities including cocoa butter and cocoa powder, sugar, milk, and whey powder, is up 10% compared to last Easter, according to data from Mintec.
Bad weather in cocoa-growing countries has caused issues with the harvest and in turn are causing global shortages.
Mondelez (), Hershey’s ( ), Lindt and Nestle ( ) all announced raising wholesale prices in the last two years. While other’s have just moved to making smaller bars of chocolate.
West Africa, which produces more than 60% of global cocoa, has been hit by bad droughts. Ghana, the world’s second biggest producer after Ivory Coast, had the lowest rainfall since 1999 between August and October, key months in the cocoa growing cycle.
If that was not enough, the region saw Harmattan winds arriving a month earlier than normal last year. These are dry, dusty winds that push from the Sahara desert and usually blow between December and March, blocking sunlight and causing temperatures to drop.
Production in South America, another major cocoa region, is forecast to drop this year because of droughts caused by the El Niño phenomenon.
The International Cocoa Organization expects a 113,000 tonne global production shortfall in the 2015/2016 season.
Additionally, the global consumption of chocolate is rising. Consumers in Asia Pacific and India have found their sweet tooth — Euromonitor expects Asia Pacific to consume more cocoa ingredients than to North America by 2017.