Chocolate lovers, look away. A new report claims the world is heading for a chocolate deficit as demand for cocoa approaches an all-time high.

With the typical Westerner consuming the equivalent of 286 bars a year and more people in developing countries buying up the sweet stuff, archaic cocoa farming methods are proving insufficient to meet growing demand.

Entitled The Destruction of Chocolate and produced by research firm Hardman Agribusiness, the report notes stockpiles of cocoa are diminishing.

Doug Hawkins from Hardman Agribusiness says the way cocoa is farmed is at the heart of the pending shortage, as methods have remained the same for centuries.

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He says while other tree crops have benefited from the development of "high yielding cultivars and crop management techniques", the majority of the world's cocoa is produced on farms with unimproved planting material.

To produce 286 bars, or the average individuals annual chocolate intake, 10 cacao trees are needed to make the cocoa and butter - key ingredients in the production of chocolate.

Predictions are that we face a chocolate deficit of 100,000 tonnes a year in the next few years.

News of the shortage has also seen chocolate lovers take to Twitter to express their concern.




Reports also suggest growers in the Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producing country, have resorted to illegally farming protected forests in a bid to meet demand.

- nzherald.co.nz