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Chocolate lover: Germans eat an average of 9.3 kilos of the sweet every year

Photo: Sally Anscombe / Getty Images

According to the German confectionery industry, people in Germany eat almost ten kilos of chocolate every year.

Because of the high price of cocoa, consumers may soon have to spend more money on their favorite candy.

"Increased raw material prices and wages can lead to cost increases, which could tend to be passed on to the consumer," said Solveig Schneider, deputy managing director of the Federal Association of the German Confectionery Industry (BDSI).

The price for a ton of raw cocoa rose to a record high of almost 5,500 euros on the raw material exchanges in February.

At the beginning of January the price was under 4,000 euros and in February last year it was under 2,500 euros.

According to experts, the reason for the rapid price increase is a shortage of supply, also as a result of climate-related extreme weather events.

Longer periods of drought, heavy rain, floods and plant diseases have recently led to significantly lower yields or even completely destroyed harvests in growing countries such as Ivory Coast and Ghana.

The two countries account for 60 percent of global cocoa production.

Longer periods of rain also lead to the spread of plant diseases such as CSSVD.

The virus, spread by aphids, causes cocoa trees to die.

According to Kerstin Weber, environmental scientist at WWF, 17 percent of all cultivated areas in Ghana are already affected, and CSSVD is also spreading to Ivory Coast.

Since cocoa trees are not resistant, the only effective treatment is to cut down infected trees and plant new ones, says Weber.

The virus can spread so quickly because cocoa is usually grown in monocultures.

Climate change and diseases are affecting the bean

"A kilo of cocoa is almost three euros more expensive than it was a year ago," explained a spokesman for the chocolate manufacturer Ritter Sport.

“Everyone can calculate for themselves what that means for the production costs of a 100-gram chocolate bar that contains between 35 and 70 percent cocoa, but we are currently assessing the situation as a whole.” Ritter Sport does not want to commit to a possible price increase for antitrust reasons express.

Michele Buck, head of the US company Hershey, one of the world's largest confectionery manufacturers, recently did not rule out an increase in prices.

"Given the current situation with cocoa prices, we will use every tool in our toolbox, including pricing, to manage the business," she said in mid-February when presenting the group's financial figures.

The Swiss food giant Nestlé also did not rule out further price increases.

Armin Valet, food expert at the Hamburg Consumer Center, expects chocolate to become more expensive.

He can also imagine that the classic table will become smaller.

Valet has been studying products that shrink while prices remain the same or increase for years.

Most recently, a lot of sweets ended up on his list.

»Manufacturers and retailers know that consumers pay less attention to the price of luxury products such as chocolate.

That’s why they particularly like to increase prices,” says Valet.

In the past, chocolate has regularly become more expensive, even without rising raw material prices.

»A good 20 years ago the table cost 99 pfennigs, currently 1.49 euros.

So the price has tripled.«

However, consumers have not yet been deterred from buying their most frequently consumed sweet.

The annual per capita consumption of chocolate products in Germany is stable; in 2023, according to the BDSI, it was 9.3 kilos.