No Chocolate in the Future?

No more chocolate?!  Please say it ain’t so!

I recently saw an article regarding the depressing fact the world could be without chocolate by 2020.   My reaction was, of course, a rapid heart rate combined with an increase in whatever causes the fight or flight response.  It put me into a temporary state of panic.  I LOVE chocolate.  Especially milk chocolate.  Not so crazy about the darks.  Yes, I love chocolate.  I even like using the many colors of chocolate in paintings.

Make Mine Chocolate 1

Ok, I don’t live for chocolate, but chocolate does help me to live!  It’s been helping me to live most of my life.  My addiction started probably while I was still wearing diapers.  Truthfully, I’ll still be addicted when I go BACK into wearing diapers.. the adult kind.  I will go to my grave loving chocolate.  If I think about it, I can conjure up many happy memories of events that included chocolate.  Bet you can too.  I can also remember events involving chocolate that weren’t so happy.  Like the time I left a chocolate mint in my jeans pocket and didn’t remember it was there until I had a dark mess to deal with.  Or having a kid that got a sick stomach after eating chocolate…. I wanted to get sick with her.  Yikes.

Not Our First “No Chocolate in the Future” Warning

After I calmed down, I realized that this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this news.

We’ve been warned about having no chocolate in the future for a long time.  Red flags about the marvelous cocoa beans, from which our beloved chocolate products are made, began being waved back in 2010.  I just didn’t remember.  I mean, as long as I’m still seeing it on the shelves… I’m happy!  And oblivious to any impending doom.

The world consumes more chocolate than growers of the cocoa been can provide.  Did you know that it takes around 400 beans to make one pound of chocolate?  Can you just imagine how many pounds of chocolate people eat every year?  Sadly, I’m part of the problem.  I have a candy jar full of  “fun size” snickers, several boxes of brownie mix in the pantry, and a bottle of syrup in the refrigerator at this very moment.  Bring me chocolate covered strawberries and I’m over the moon.

The continued rise in the demand for chocolate probably isn’t going to slow down.  I read that countries like China and India also have a high demand for chocolate.  Looks like they’re taking more than just our manufacturing and telecommunications jobs!  Now they’re taking our chocolate!  Just kidding, MANY countries have this sweet addiction too.

Chocolate Has Been Part of the World’s History for… Ever??

I refuse to believe that we won’t overcome the threat of having no chocolate in our future.  It has a long and close history with humans.  It’s considered the world’s “greatest confection”.   Did you know…

  •  For most of it’s history, chocolate has been consumed as a liquid, not as a solid.  Its been recorded that Montezuma drank up to 50 cups a day from a gold chalice.
  • Benjamin Franklin sold chocolate in his print shop in Philadelphia
  • In World War II, the Nazi’s at one time considered killing Winston Churchill using a chocolate bar with an explosive
  • During the Revolutionary War, soldiers were often paid … in chocolate.  Not chocolate play money…. chocolate.
  • According to the ancient Mayans and Aztecs, it’s the “food of the gods”
  • The blood in Psycho’s famous shower scene was actually chocolate syrup.
  • Dark chocolate has as much caffeine as a Coca-Cola?

It also has a tremendous effect on our senses.  Eating chocolate can give a mental high greater than one gotten from kissing.  This must be why so many women want chocolate after a breakup!  It makes them feel loved.  Want more fun facts?  Check out an article by James Grebey on BuzzFeed.com.

Chocolate Companies in the Fight Against No Chocolate In Our Future

Thank goodness for giant chocolate producing companies like Hershey’s and Mars and a few others.  These companies are right there on the front lines.  Of course, they are!  Producing chocolate products is a multi-billion dollar industry.  Since the earliest warnings about the rise in demand for and the fall of production of cocoa beans, these companies have spent close to (maybe more by now) a billion dollars trying to save the industry.  I include them in my list of everyday heroes.

70% of the world’s cocoa is produced on the Ivory Coast in in Ghana.  These are areas that have been suffering.  No more chocolate in our future?  There are lots of reasons for the decline in production of cocoa beans.  If you go on the internet and do some research, you’ll find out about fungus, crop failure, farmers giving up on the crop for other crops, lack of understanding good agricultural practices, and that farmers are giving up on farming and moving to better paying jobs in cities.  Money is being spent to help change this.

These companies are also looking at alternatives to the cocoa bean.  Like jackfruit.  Never heard of it?  Me neither.  According to an article by the American Chemical Society in March of 2017, jackfruit seeds “produce many of the same aromas as processed by the cocoa bean.”  Remember your high school science classes… our ability to smell highly influences our tastebuds.  These beans must have many of the same compounds as cocoa beans.  So, let’s hear it for Jackfruit!!!

No Chocolate in Our Future? 

Deep down, I don’t believe it.  What I do believe is that there is a cocoa bean producing problem and that we will find a solution.  As for me, I will continue to buy and eat chocolate in its many forms.  And occasionally, paint pictures with colors that remind me of it.  Geez, now I’m thinking about chocolate swirled ice cream.  Reminder to self… add that to the grocery list.

#karrencaseart #chocolateinourfuture #declineinchocolate

 

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