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Elite Pesek Zman chocolate (illustrative)

As Israelis and Jews around the world begin preparations for the sweet-laden holiday of Purim (which begins on the evening of March 23), chocoholics may have to brace for higher prices and shortages as cocoa prices reach record highs.

Cocoa, the key ingredient in chocolate, has more than doubled in price over the past year.


On the New York commodities market, cocoa hit an all-time high of $9,010.59 per ton in early February, according to a report published by B’Hadarei Haredim.

Unfavorable weather conditions in major cocoa-producing regions of Africa, including Ivory Coast and Ghana, have reportedly led to smaller harvests and contributed to the price surge.

Ivory Coast accounts for nearly 40 percent of global cocoa bean output, while Ghana produces about 20 percent.

Other factors like smuggling and disease have also impacted production levels. Analysts do not expect cocoa prices to fall significantly through 2024.

Henley Bridge, a leading cocoa ingredient supplier, predicts prices will continue climbing 15-20 percent for the remainder of the year after similar gains in the first half of 2024, according to the report.

The price spike has already forced chocolate companies to make adjustments to maintain profitability. Some have reduced the amount of cocoa in their products, switched to cheaper ingredients or raised prices.

Industry leaders have expressed concern about the production declines. Samuel Adimadu, president of the Ghana Cocoa Buyers Group, said Ghanaian cocoa operations have been forced to cut staff and cancel contracts due to the situation.

Other cocoa-reliant industries like cosmetics and pharmaceuticals may also see supply chain issues or price hikes as a result of the ongoing shortage.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.