Chocflation! Bars could shrink even further in size amid rise in cocoa prices because of heavy rain in Africa
- Heavy rainfall in West Africa has disrupted the 2023 harvest
- Last week, Lindt and Hershey warned they could not rule out price rise
Chocolate bars could shrink even further in size after the price of one of its key ingredients soared.
Heavy rainfall in West Africa, which is where most cocoa is grown, and the El Nino weather has disrupted this year’s harvest.
Now experts have warned that it could see food companies, who have already cut the size of their bars and biscuits through ‘shrinkflation’, considering more reductions – even marketing smaller products as a healthier choice, while charging the same or more.
Last week top manufacturers including Lindt and American chocolate maker Hershey warned they could not rule out price rises.
Paul Joules, who analyses commodity prices at Rabobank, said: ‘In terms of how the current rises will affect chocolate prices, it’s hard to say when it will hit because there is a lag.
Chocolate bars could shrink even further in size as the price of a key ingredient soars (STOCK IMAGE)
Last week, Lindt and Hershey warned they could not rule out price rises (STOCK IMAGE)
‘Another factor is that sugar prices are also increasing,’ he added.
‘By next year we may see more shrinkflation and companies marketing these smaller bars as a healthier choice.
‘Chocolate companies can be very clever in the ways they absorb some of the costs they have to face.’
READ MORE: I’m a doctor – here’s why you crave chocolate when you’re stressed (and four easy hacks to dampen your desire for dessert)
Each Briton eats an estimate three bars per week – or an average of almost two stone per year.
UK chocolate prices have risen 17 per cent in the past year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
This is more than double the general rate of inflation.
But the price of raw cocoa has risen by a quarter on US trading markets and by as much as 46 per cent on the main exchange in London.
So far, Cadbury and Nestle – which makes KitKat and Smarties – have said they have no plans for further hikes.
But Cadbury caused a stir last year when it reduced the size of larger Dairy Milk bars from 200g to 180g but kept the price the same at £2.
Ben Laidler, global markets strategist at investment group eToro, said: ‘Consumers are already paying more and this will continue as the latest commodity price spike feeds through to the supermarket shelves, making this situation worse before it gets any better.’
The prices of other raw materials, including what experts refer to as the ‘breakfast commodities’ such as sugar, orange juice and coffee have also all surged.
Laidler said: ‘Demand for all these ingredients is relatively stable, but they have all seen weather-related disruptions to supply that has pushed their prices higher – from India’s sugar crop to Florida’s oranges and Brazil’s coffee.’
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