Could the world run out of chocolate before 2050?

Chocolate grows well only in certain climates. But rising temperatures around the globe will make it difficult for those plants to continue to grow.

By Jeremy Repanich 17/01/2018

We’re no stranger to dire predictions from scientists about one our favourite food or beverages being endangered. Last fall, researchers published a paper saying that climate change was endangering the land coffee was grown on. Bird flu wreaked havoc on France’s foie gras supply. And now, a team of scientists at University of California, Berkeley are sounding the alarm about chocolate.

Like coffee, chocolate grows well only in certain climates. For the cacao plant, that’s in rainforests around the equator and mainly from two African countries: Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. But rising temperatures around the globe will make it difficult for those plants to continue to grow. And farmers don’t have the option to head to higher elevations, because much of that land is protected wildlife preserves. Thus, chocolate could become extinct by 2050 if action isn’t taken.

Researchers at Berkley aren’t attacking this problem from a climate science perspective. Instead, their work assumes that temperatures will rise and there will be no places for the cacao farmers to move their crops.

At the university’s Innovative Genomics Institute — a joint venture with UC San Francisco — geneticist Jennifer Doudna has created a technology to edit DNA called CRISPR. And in IGI’s plant genomics lab, a team led by Myeong-Je Cho is working on altering the DNA of cacao plants in order to allow them to thrive in hotter climates.

The lab has partnered with the mega-sized candy conglomerate Mars — makers of Snickers, Dove bars, M&Ms and much much more — which pledged to spend $1 billion on an initiative which it calls “Sustainable in a Generation.” The program is focused on decreasing the company’s overall carbon footprint, become more efficient in its water use, and fund research like what IGI is doing. For a company whose bedrock is chocolate bars, it makes sense they’re trying to find ways to keep cacao plants growing. Even if the corporation is just doing it for self-preservation, we appreciate their efforts to keep us eating chocolate through our lifetimes.

ADVERTISE WITH US

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Robb Report AU - Newsletter Robb Report AU - Motors Newsletter Robb Report AU - Property Newsletter Robb Report AU - Lifestyle Newsletter Robb Report AU - Style Newsletter Robb Report AU - Business Newsletter Robb Report AU - Travel Newsletter

Stay Connected

You may also like.

Crown Brings Nobu To Sydney

The world-renowned chef is set to open his third Australian outpost.

By Terry Christodoulou

23/06/2020

Christie’s To Host Daniel Arsham Auction

It marks the first single-artist sale by any international house.

By Terry Christodoulou

18/06/2020

Ultimate Global Gastronomic Auction

An unprecedented opportunity to experience the world’s best chefs and restaurants – and help those doing it tough.

By Terry Christodoulou

18/06/2020

Bottling The Essence Of Bladnoch

How an Australian revived the fortunes of this storied Scottish distillery.

By Sponsored Content

16/06/2020

A Jean-Michel Basquiat Painting Just Sold For $140 Million

The nine-figure sale is the first the art world has seen in some time.

By Martin Lerma

05/06/2020

Buy the Magazine

Subscribe to Robb Report today!

Subscribe today

Stay Connected