Saturday, February 13, 2010

Peak chocolate?

By Professor Helen Hughes

A rapidly developing palm oil shortage is sneaking up on chocolate eaters.

Neither China nor India, with their teeming billions, ate much chocolate in the past. Few people could afford it. In the tropics, and in the hot summers of northern China and India, there was no refrigeration to keep chocolate from melting.

Leading chocolate multinationals are now seizing on these potential markets by introducing small chocolate bars into China and India. They are greatly helped by growing numbers of refrigerators in small shops and cafes. Chinese and Indian masses are taking to chocolate just like Europeans, Americans and Australians have. Sales are through the roof. The producers cannot keep up with the demand. Research on chocolate with a high melting point is in train. Rising living standards are being translated into booming chocolate sales.

The key ingredients of chocolate are sugar, cocoa and fats. Thanks to lunatic sugar subsidies in Europe and the United States, there is no shortage of sugar, but it takes years for cocoa trees to bear, and increases in palm oil supply are seriously threatened. Although palm oil plantations have roughly the same carbon sink properties as forests, and although the trans-fat content of palm oil is far lower than of equivalent ghee, coconut and sesame oil it replaces, a new green ideology is dead set against increases in palm oil production. This is likely to become a critical bottleneck in the production of chocolate.

So enjoy the chocolate Easter egg displays coming into the shops. Prices are going to escalate. Within a few years, a chocolate Easter egg, let alone a box of Lindt Assorted Pralines, is likely to be an unaffordable luxury.

The above is part of a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated February 12. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.

From Greenie Watch

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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