Soaring cocoa prices could lead to more expensive Easter holidays

EDMONTON – Easter is being celebrated around the world Sunday, and along with the celebrations often comes chocolate. But because of the soaring price of cocoa, those celebrations may become a bit more expensive in the years to come.

“The price has affected us,” said Jacqueline Jacek, owner and self-described cocoanista of JACEK Chocolate Couture, which specializes in hand-crafted, fine French chocolate.

“We just saw a price hike in chocolate. And with fine chocolate we use a lot more of the cocoa bean, less sugar,” she said.

The Sherwood Park chocolatier has been extremely busy in the days leading up to Easter, with customers looking to stock up on chocolate goodies.

“I needed a refill on chocolates,” said Nichole. “It’s good chocolate, which is hard to find.”

“We’re here buying fun treats for Easter,” added Joelle.

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But those fun treats could soon cost a lot more. Due to an increased demand in new markets such as China, the price of cocoa has increased by 30 per cent in just over a year.

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“And a lot of the farmers, the cocoa farmers, are moving away from chocolate because it doesn’t make as much money as other plantations,” Jacek added.

So the situation really boils down to simple supply and demand – when supplies go down, prices go up. Some economists are predicting the price of cocoa could eventually soar so high chocolate will become a luxury, similar to champagne.

“I think that’s a little bit scary,” Jacek said. “I don’t know how high it’s going to go in the near future, I’m hoping not too high.”

In order to cope with the increasing price, Jacek is trying to keep her margins low so customers aren’t affected.

“To increase our prices is just not realistic at this point. So we’re just really working on ordering in larger amounts, just so that we pay less shipping and that kind of thing.”

But if the trend continues, retail prices will follow, and customers say they’ll have decisions to make.

“You have to weigh the pros and cons, to (decide) if it’s something that I want in my life,” said Nichole. “The prices are going to go up, but then I’m just going to be a bit more choosey about where I buy my chocolates and only save it for the good stuff.”

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“We don’t buy that much to actually make a crazy difference, but we do enjoy it,” added Joelle. “Maybe we’ll have to become nobility.”

With files from Fletcher Kent, Global News. 

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