DUSSELDORF (Germany): Since the price of a ton of raw cocoa on the London commmodity exchange recently climbed to a record high of just under €5,500 (US$5,960), chocolate fans have reason to be alarmed, reported German Press Agency (dpa).

Just a year ago it was €2,500 and last month it was €4,000.

“A kilo of cocoa is almost €3 more expensive than it was a year ago,“ a spokesman for the German chocolate manufacturer Ritter Sport said.

“Anyone can work out for themselves what this means for the production costs of a 100-gram chocolate bar, which contains between 35 per cent and 70 per cent cocoa, but we are currently assessing the situation as a whole,“ he said.

The company does not want to say anything about possible price increases for anti-trust reasons. However, a trade association executive is worried.

“Increased raw material prices and wages can lead to cost increases, which could tend to be passed on to the consumer,“ said Solveig Schneider, deputy managing director of the Federal Association of the German Confectionery Industry (BDSI).

And in the United States, Hershey, one of the world’s largest sweets manufacturers, did not rule out a price increase.

Michele Buck, chief executive of the US company Hershey, one of the world’s largest confectionery manufacturers, did not rule out a price rise.

“Given where cocoa prices are, we will be using every tool in our toolbox, including pricing, as a way to manage the business,“ Buck said during a mid-February presentation of the chocolate giant’s results. Recent comments from her competitor, the Swiss food giant Nestlé, were similar. - Bernama

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