Enjoy that Halloween candy while it lasts, kids, because in the not-so-distant future, no one’s going to be giving away chocolate. With a growing number of farmers abandoning their cocoa crops in West Africa, the world may just plain run out of affordable chocolate within 20 years, industry experts tell the Independent. “Galaxy, Creme Eggs, every kind of £1 chocolate bar will be a thing of the past,” says one London chocolatier, predicting the average bar will sell for £7 ($11.25).
Given the meager prices big candy companies pay for cocoa, farmers have decided that it’s not worth replacing trees when they die, instead devoting the land to biofuel crops. But even as supply diminishes, demand is shooting up among new developing-world chocoholics. The result: cocoa prices have doubled over the past six years to an all-time high. “In 20 years, chocolate will be like caviar,” says one conservation researcher. “The average Joe just won’t be able to afford it.” (Read more chocolate stories.)