With the season turning brisk and the leaves starting to turn colors, Halloween chocolates, Christmas toffee, and hot chocolate after a brisk walk are just around the corner. So many of our treats are based on or enhanced with chocolate, and it’s no wonder. Why? Because chocolate is one of the almost-divine foods.

But what if chocolate was about to get a lot more expensive?

That is what some experts are predicting as the cost of chocolate is expected to hit a record this year with a 45 percent increase in the cost of bulk chocolate from 2007. This is due to a shortage of cocoa beans, because dry weather is expected to hurt the next harvest in West Africa where 70 percent of cocoa beans are produced.

While the largest companies haven’t changed their prices yet, some smaller companies have already had to raise their prices to reflect the higher cost of bulk chocolate.

October is Fair Trade Month and chocolate is one of the items that — in my humble opinion — should be bought fair trade. I love chocolate, am on a budget, and want to make sure my purchases aren’t supporting bad business practices. If chocolate becomes more expensive, then I have yet another opportunity to work out my budget and chocolate desires.

Here are a few thoughts:

  • Whether chocolate prices rise or not, you should consider fair trade chocolate. This is an ongoing issue that your purchases could play a positive role in.
  • Eat better chocolate, less often: To balance my budget and my chocolate love, I simply eat better, “fairer” chocolate less often. It is as simple as that for me!
  • The better quality, the less you need: When you buy really great chocolate, you only need a square or two to be satisfied. That means a more expensive bar of chocolate lasts you longer.
  • If prices go higher, consider buying from small companies. Larger companies will be able to roll with market changes much more easily. It is the smaller companies that can be most hurt by it. By supporting small chocolate companies that use fair trade chocolate, you can support both fair trade practices overseas, as well as small-time companies in the USA.

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Related on MNN:

Chocolate prices may go up (and what to do about it)
Some experts are predicting that you may have to spend more on chocolate in the future. Here are some things to consider.