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Chocolate peak

by fredouil Sat Jun 10th, 2006 at 09:45:07 PM EST

i am getting tired about all these oil peak gas peak, and the worst is coming (at least for me, chocolate is my main energy) : Chocolate peak


The Times     March 11, 2006

For lovers of chocolate, future could be very dark
From Richard Lloyd Parry in Tokyo
GLIMPSED through its smoked glass windows, with its dim lighting and its watchful guards, the Cave du Chocolat in Isetan department store looks more like the premises of an exclusive jeweller than an upmarket sweetie shop.

Inside, beautifully turned out Tokyo ladies hover over chocolates from Switzerland, Belgium, France and Spain that glisten like brown gold.

The standard price is 300 yen (£1.50) for a single piece; the most expensive chocolates, containing foie gras, sell for 1,000 yen each. Prices such as these do not seem to blunt the appetite of Japanese shoppers, the most fanatical chocoholics outside Europe and America.

But now a shadow is looming over the worldwide chocolate industry -- the threat of a worldwide shortage of cocoa beans, caused by a sudden epidemic of chocomania in Asia.

With chocolate consumption increasing at a rate of 25 per cent a year in the Asia-Pacific region, and 30 per cent in China, chocolate makers fear that coco- bean growers will not be able to keep up with demand. The unstoppable growth of China has aroused fears of future conflicts over natural resources such as oil, gas and water. Now a new and unforeseen catastrophe presents itself: global chocolate wars.

"It always seems to be the same with China," says Yoshiko Ishihara, a 56-year-old housewife, who emerges from Isetan bearing a jar of deluxe chocolate spread for her husband. "They consume so much. Fish and oil are becoming scarce. But it's hard to believe that one day I won't be able to eat chocolate."

The first chocolate in Japan was brought by Dutch sailors who gave it to prostitutes in Nagasaki in 1797. A century later the Morinaga confectionery company was selling chocolate at prices that few but foreigners could afford. By 2004, the average Japanese was eating 2.2kg (5lb) a year.

Compared with the British (9.2kg a year) or the world leaders, the Swiss (11.3kg a year), the Japanese have a long way to go. Annual consumption in China is smaller still at 50g a year, but its population of 1.3 billion, and its rapidly expanding urban middle class, make it the market of the future.

"Chocolate is still very expensive for Chinese," says Fumio Sukegawa, of the Chocolate and Cocoa Association of Japan. "But even just 1 per cent of China is 13 million people, which is about the size of Tokyo. That's why chocolate producers are concerned."

Already chocolatiers are being paid the ultimate compliment in China -- fake versions of their most famous brands. In January, Ferrero Rocher successfully sued a Chinese confectioner that had been producing rip-offs.

Cocoa beans grow in a narrow equatorial strip from South America through Africa to Malaysia. It takes five years for a tree to mature, which makes it difficult for growers to react quickly to spikes in demand.

Japan's peak chocolate season is Valentine's Day, when women give chocolate to boyfriends, husbands and male colleagues. But the confectioners have also been shrewd enough to establish a second sweetie festival next Tuesday, White Day, when men reciprocate with white chocolate, white cakes or white marshmallows.

The future of chocolate all depends on one thing -- the degree to which the Chinese reject their traditional sweets. In Japan, chocolate is still outsold by wagashi, sweets made out of rice, beans and sesame.

I will look at adding this commodity to my portfolio, i need to finance my chocolate consumption ;-).

what is worring you the most :
. Oil peak 18%
. Gas peak 0%
. Chocolate peak 18%
. coffe peak 27%
. your girlfriend moodswing 36%

Votes: 11
Results | Other Polls
this is getting to be absurd.  

I'm more worried about Peak Coffee due to our 1 pound (.5 kilo) a week habit.  Buying green beans and doing our own roasting would lower the price.  

But I can't do that with chocolate.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Jun 10th, 2006 at 10:27:50 PM EST
We will grit our teeth and pay the prices for coffee and chocolate...hopefully some of the money gets to the farmers...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun Jun 11th, 2006 at 04:49:01 AM EST
There are several "Fairtrade" chocolate bars. Probably the easiest available is Green and Black's Maya Gold which is flavored with spices and orange.

Demand for the raw product is also increasing as people move away from what is euphamistically called "family chocolate" AKA brown or white fat with chocolate flavour, towards proper chocolate.  The big supermarket chain Tesco here even does an own brand "Value" version with over 50% cocoa content!

by Londonbear on Sun Jun 11th, 2006 at 12:10:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Green and Black produces a straight Dark Chocolate with 70% coccoa content.  The Maya Gold bar is fun, every once in a while, but give me the undiluted chocolate for preference.

"Family chocolate" seems to be the same as the popular 'milk chocolate' here in the States.  I don't know what the heck they use as an emulsifier - industrial by-products?  wax?  paraffin?  pig snot?  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 11th, 2006 at 01:42:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem there is Green and Black tastes like **!
by Number 6 on Tue Jun 13th, 2006 at 12:19:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, what happened to my colourful euphemism?
Some sort of HTML trickery?
by Number 6 on Tue Jun 13th, 2006 at 12:20:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Luckily, I hate chocolate and sweets, in general.  As someone with a severe addiction to coffee -- an addiction that has become even worse, now that I've quit smoking and have replaced cigarettes with a lot more coffee (and a bit more beer) -- I'll have to live with rising prices.  As far as peak production in oil and chocolate are concerned...well, as Bush once said, "My answer's 'Bring'em On!'"

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jun 11th, 2006 at 12:04:46 PM EST
Coffee is not an addiction.  

It is the Fuel-of-Life without which the entire world would stagger into the future denied all hope.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 11th, 2006 at 01:46:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't wait for peak coffee ... I'll suddenly look intelligent around anyone.
by Alex in Toulouse on Sun Jun 11th, 2006 at 01:48:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(I don't drink coffee)
by Alex in Toulouse on Sun Jun 11th, 2006 at 01:48:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Alright.  I agree.  Disregard my original comment.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jun 11th, 2006 at 02:06:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most people already consider coffee and chocolate to be luxury items. (Though the thought of living without either makes my blood run cold...)  Even if you don't consider them luxuries, there are very immediate points of diminishing returns with these goods.  They only achieve their function and cache in finite, even small amounts.  They do not easily lend themselves to gluttony.  Whereas oil not only continues to be seen not only as a non-luxury item, but a right, and the more you use the better your life.  

BTW, I highly recommend Green & Black's for guilt-free (fair trade, organic, sustainable development, unbelievably delicious) chocolate.



Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Sun Jun 11th, 2006 at 12:07:40 PM EST
Fortunately I'm not choco-holic, but it makes me fear Peak Cheese or beer.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 11th, 2006 at 01:00:07 PM EST
I agree, peak cheese would be my worst nightmare as far as peaks go.
by Alex in Toulouse on Sun Jun 11th, 2006 at 01:05:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With the EU Agricultural Policy I don't think that's really something we need to worry about.
by Number 6 on Tue Jun 13th, 2006 at 12:21:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As the age of the earth grows eventually the geologic processes that lead to mountain buidling must slow down and halt.

Or .... wait for it .......

Peak Peaks!

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 11th, 2006 at 01:49:06 PM EST
I see you got yourself a twin peaks scenario there.
by Alex in Toulouse on Sun Jun 11th, 2006 at 01:51:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A few years ago an intersting hypothesis made the rounds when a geophycist calculated the earth would ultimately be without oceans because more water is being dragged into subduction zones than is released back into the atmosphere... And when there is no water, it's hypothecially feasible that subduction as we know it stops altogether.

So... Peak Peaks and Peak Water (which is kinda real anyway)

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Sun Jun 11th, 2006 at 05:32:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Am I the only one to make "chopped liver" jokes?
by Number 6 on Wed Jun 14th, 2006 at 06:06:20 AM EST
i'm more of a valley guy, meself...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jun 14th, 2006 at 06:00:23 PM EST

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