Experts predict the world could run out of chocolate within 40 years because cacao plants are struggling to survive in warmer climates.
The trees can only grow within approximately 20 degrees north and south of the Equator – and they thrive under specific conditions such as high humidity and abundant rain.
But a temperature rise of just 2.1C over the next 30 years caused by global warming is set to wreak havoc for the plants – and in turn the worldwide chocolate industry, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.As the mercury rises and squeezes more water out of soil and plants, scientists believe it is unlikely that rainfall will increase enough to offset the moisture loss.
That means cacao production areas are set to be pushed thousands of feet uphill into mountainous terrain which is carefully preserved for wildlife by 2050.
Officials in countries such as Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana – which produce more than half of the world’s chocolate – will face an agonising dilemma over whether to maintain the world’s supply of chocolate or to save their dying ecosystems.According to research, the typical Western consumer eats an average of 286 chocolate bars a year, more if they are from Belgium, the research titled Destruction by Chocolate found.
For 286 bars, producers need to plant 10 cacao trees to make the cocoa and the butter – the key ingredients in the production of chocolate.