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Price of chocolate is set to soar in Australia: ‘Unprecedented’

Serious weather conditions are affecting some of the world's biggest cocoa producers.

As Aussies gear up for a chocolate-filled Easter, there are fresh warnings your favourite sweet treat could soon cost a lot more at the checkout.

One of the main ingredients in chocolate, cocoa, has soared in price due to crops being affected by bad weather and that is expected to squeeze producers even more than they already are.

At the start of the year, the dried seed of the fruit from the cocoa tree was trading around US$4,238 per tonne, according to the Intercontinental Exchange. As of this week, that price has skyrocketed to US$8,234 per tonne.

Chocolate easter egg next to wad of Australian cash
The price of chocolate is set to be greatly affected by weather conditions in Africa. (Source: Getty)

Do you have a story to tell? Email stew.perrie@yahooinc.com

The seed can only be grown in particular climates, and the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana produce 70 per cent of the world’s supply.

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The alarm was sounded in October last year that the first quarter of 2024 would have dramatically lower exports because of “erratic weather conditions” as well as a “fungal disease” that has been affecting the cocoa trees. Shipments were expected to fall by 28.5 per cent compared to the previous year.

ANZ Agribusiness Insights director Michael Whitehead said what was happening at the moment was “unprecedented”.

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“For two years, the weather has been so bad that it’s absolutely ravaged their crops,” he told 9News. “Next year, chocolate eggs - if prices keep going up for global cocoa - could be a lot more than they are this year.”

Michele Buck, CEO of The Hershey Company - one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world - admitted last month that “historic cocoa prices are expected to limit earnings growth this year”.

Mondelez, who owns the likes of Cadbury, Oreo and Toblerone, told 9News they were “experiencing significantly higher input costs” and might have to make changes to “price” or “pack size” in the future as a result.

Customers won't be happy if it leads to more products being affected by shrinkflation.

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“There are ways to tackle shrinkflation and make sure you’re getting the most value out of what you’re buying,” Finder personal finance expert Sarah Megginson previously told Yahoo Finance.

“However, it really puts the onus on you as a consumer to be on alert.”

The chocolate industry faced a similar problem last year when the price per tonne of cocoa was $2,690, which saw prices rise by 21 per cent in the first six months.

The International Cocoa Organisation (ICO) market report revealed there were other factors also increasing the cost of chocolate.

“With prices of other ingredients like sugar rising, and inflation causing price increases in other areas of the supply chain, confectionery companies are likely to face hurdles in their operations, and passing the cost of production increases to consumers cannot be ruled out,” the ICO report said.