Helen’s Chocolates, Ash Street, Bowness
On Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3EB

It’s All About Quality When it Comes to Chocolate

on March 01, 2016 .

There’s no doubt we all love a bit of chocolate from time to time. Some of us even enjoy it on a more regular basis. And that’s understandable. There’s nothing quite as luxurious as handmade dragees – chocolate nibbles coated in milk, dark or white chocolate – after a stressful day or a treat at the end of a busy weekend.

It’s pretty hard pressed to find someone that doesn’t like chocolate. That why in the UK alone the average person consumes 16.3 pounds of chocolate per year. That’s the equivalent of about 264 Daim bars (28g)…

That’s a whole lot of chocolate no matter which way you look at it.

Remember this is in the UK alone. Globally the world consumes around 7.3 million tonnes of chocolate per year. And with a growing global population that figure is likely going to increase.

We’ll be the first to admit that as a chocolate company we are pretty lucky to work with chocolate every day. We’ve worked very hard in the industry for over 15 years so luck actually has little to do with it. But we do think we’ve got it pretty good – after all one of the perks of the work is the chocolate!

But in all seriousness many people simply take chocolate for granted. There’s never been a time when you’ve popped into our shop, or any shop for that matter and been told by the shop keeper, ‘sorry but we’re out of chocolate today, try again next week.’

That situation simply never happens. Can you imagine the uproar if there was a chocolate shortage? There’d be riots in the streets! Well maybe not that far but it would have a global impact. After all, research house, Markets & Markets estimate that in 2016 the global market size for the chocolate industry will top US$98.3 billion. Imagine what a chocolate shortage would do to the industry…

We don’t like to think about it that much. But all people should be cognisant of the possibility that one day, perhaps there might be a chocolate shortage. Maybe the chocolate that is often taken for granted people should appreciate a little more – because if in fact chocolate is a finite, limited resource then maybe general perception of it needs to change.

Quality over quantity

We’re of the belief that you cannot beat high quality, luxurious, delicious, decadent chocolate. It’s not about buying a massive bag of candy coated, nut coated, caramel and coconut-laden bits and pieces. It’s about taking delight in something more bespoke and tantalising such as a Bailey’s Truffle, a Helens Cognac Pyramid or a Helen’s Nougat & Caramelised Hazelnut enrobed in Milk Chocolate.

These aren’t the kinds of chocolates you buy en-mass (but if you want to then come and see us because they are delicious). They’re more for the real lover, the connoisseur of all things chocolate.

It’s this appreciation of chocolate that is so important. You see chocolate is about quality – there’s nothing like quality chocolate. It’s a taste and texture that you don’t get from mass-produced, mass market, generic chocolates from the supermarket.

And if the world does end up in a global chocolate shortage one day then it will be the finer chocolates, the handmade, luxurious chocolates that will live to fight another day. The mass-market chocolates will spike in price, and their lack of quality won’t match their skyrocketing prices.

In other words, a chocolate shortage will turn chocolate into ‘brown gold’.

So what are the chances of a global chocolate shortage? Well if you listen to some prominent scientists, it’s quite likely.

Professor David Guest from the University of Sydney, Australia says there could be a chocolate shortage by the year 2020.

Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in Australia, Professor Guest said,

    ‘Firstly, about 70 per cent of our beans come from West Africa and West Africa's been experiencing a whole range of political and social upheaval over the past couple of decades,

    ‘In other countries like Indonesia there's a range of factors like the build up of pests and diseases and a whole range of crops farmers are growing that are more profitable than cocoa.’

These factors are possibly going to contribute to a rise in the price of cocoa and that means big chocolate companies, like the Mars and Cadbury’s of the world will face increasing pressure.

Professor Guest went on to say,

    ‘We're ok for the next year or two, but after that as the demand for beans goes up most of the chocolate companies are predicting we'll be about a million tonnes of beans short of demand by 2020.’

If he’s right we could soon be facing the great chocolate shortage of 2020. Now let’s get something right here, this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get chocolate. If anything we think it’s going to make people appreciate chocolate even more. In particular finer, quality chocolate. 

The simple question is, would you pay the same price for a mass market chocolate or a refined, luxury handmade chocolates from award winning chocolatiers?

That’s the reality you might soon be facing. And the answer is simple. You’d go for the quality chocolate every time.

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