The world could be facing a chocolate supply crisis, according to a University of Sydney academic.
At a public lecture, “The Chocolate Crisis”, Professor David Guest, from the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, will detail the potential shortage and how he and his colleagues are working to prevent it.
“We’re in a situation where chocolate manufacturers are anxious about meeting demand, as there’s rapidly increasing chocolate consumption in developing economies, paired with instability in cacao growing areas,” said Professor Guest.
“Cacao is grown in areas vulnerable to climate change, political instability, pests and diseases.”
Cacao production is also threatened by factors like ageing plantations, poorly trained farmers, poorly managed trees and dependence on a narrow genetic base. In addition, cacao is being replaced by maize to meet the demand for bioethanol.
Increasing global consumption of chocolate could also lead to a chocolate supply crisis. Consumption is rising by 2-3% each year.
“Chocolate consumption trends are different around the globe. In Australia, Europe and North America total consumption - around 6 kg of chocolate per capita per year - is stable, but the trend is to dark chocolates or to niche marketed gourmet chocolates,” said Professor Guest. “Consumption dropped slightly during the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.”
Professor Guest will be joined by Galit Segev, a food scientist and chef, who will discuss the science of working with chocolate. While the lecture is free, places are limited. RSVP by emailing email@example.com or calling (02) 9351 3021. “The Chocolate Crisis” is part of the Sydney Science Forum series of lectures.