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Martinsburg chocolatier braced for price hike

Photo by by Erika Elaine Wells Charlie Casabona, a co-owner of DeFluri’s Fine Chocolates, in downtown Martinsburg, shows an assortment of chocolate products Wednesday after news of a possible shortage of cocoa beans used to produce it.
Photo by by Erika Elaine Wells
Charlie Casabona, a co-owner of DeFluri’s Fine Chocolates, in downtown Martinsburg, shows an assortment of chocolate products Wednesday after news of a possible shortage of cocoa beans used to produce it.

By Erika Elaine Wells

The Journal

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A local chocolatier is optimistic despite news of a chocolate shortage.

Brenda Casabona, who co-owns DeFluri’s Fine Chocolates with her husband, Charlie, in Martinsburg, said there has been strong demand for chocolate in the last few years due to supply and demand with cocoa beans, which is used to make chocolate.

“What we’re paying for chocolate is substantially higher than what it was 6 or 7 years ago,” she said.

According to Bloomberg, the global cocoa industry will face the longest shortage in more than five decades because of the increased demand in Asia. Demand for cocoa beans may increase 3-4 percent by 2014, according to Bloomberg. Output will outweigh the supply from this year until 2018, the longest stretch on record since 1960, according to Bloomberg.

In the last 10 years, sales in China have more than doubled, surpassing Europe, according to Bloomberg.

In the chocolate market, there is increased demand for low-end chocolate, she said. Casabona said that as income levels increase, so does the consumer’s taste as they are exposed to better chocolate.

“As the country develops, you have an increase in consumer demand for what at one point might have been considered luxury goods, but they become everyday goods,” Casabona said.

In November, the average cost of chocolate was $2,755.17 per ton, an increase of more than $500 since February, when the price was the lowest of the year, according to the International Cocoa Organization, a London-based international organization of cocoa-producing and cocoa-consuming countries. The organization was established in 1973 to put into effect the International Cocoa Agreement in an attempt to stabilize prices in a volatile cocoa market…

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