Chocolate will disappear by 2040, say experts

Posted January 03, 2018

Since the 1990s, more than one billion people from China, Indonesia, India, Brazil and the former Soviet Union have entered the cocoa market. Apparently, cacao plants are especially sensitive to climate changes-most of the crops can only be grown in two small countries in Africa, currently-and with the ever-increasing temperatures, the plants are now on track for total extinction as early as 2050 (which, heads up, is only 32 measly years from now).

It's all thanks to a new technology called CRISPR, which allows for tiny, precise tweaks to DNA that were never possible before.

Half of the world's chocolate is now sourced from just two African countries: Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, and changes in the amount of rain and sunshine could make growing the plant in these regions unsustainable.

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African nations Ivory Coast and Ghana produce more than half the world's cocoa but are forecast to be hit by rising temperatures and droughts.

The multi-billion dollar corporation has pledged $1 billion to reduce its carbon footprint and, as part of that effort, it has partnered with a group of genetic engineers at UC Berkeley in California. The research of Jennifer Doudna, who works at UC Berkeley, was important to the creation of the gene-editing technology (but a heated legal battle concluded that the patent belonged to the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.) Doudna will be working on the chocolate-preservation project as well. The acronym stands for "Clustered Regularly Inter-Spaced Palindromic Repeats".

The team are also trying to tweak the DNA of cassava to make it produce less unsafe toxins in hotter weather.

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Chocolate is on track to go extinct in just 40 years, scientists warn.

Warnings of chocolate's precarious future aren't new: Years ago, Mars cautioned that consumer demand for cocoa would exceed supply by 2020, creating a chocolate deficit.

This is obviously a big concern, particularly for people in the West, since the typical Western consumer eats an average of almost 286 chocolate bars a year.

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For 286 bars, producers need to plant 10 cacao trees to make the cocoa and the butter - the key ingredients in the production of chocolate.