Companies behind Hershey and Cadbury chocolate signal possible price hikes amid cocoa cost surge

Written by on March 19, 2024

Hershey Co. candy bars are displayed for sale inside of the company’s Chocolate World visitor center in Hershey, Pa., Nov. 28, 2017. (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) — Easter is on the horizon, but the price of chocolate may leave a bitter aftertaste for some people leading up to the sweet holiday.

Two popular chocolate brands recently indicated they may raise prices on products again due to the rising cost of cocoa, which has gone up following torrential rain in major cocoa-growing regions that affected production.

Executives from Hershey and Cadbury each pointed to possible additional price hikes in recent earning calls, identifying rising cocoa costs as a main culprit behind the increases.

“Given where cocoa prices are, we will be using every tool in our toolbox, including pricing, as a way to manage the business,” said Michele Buck, president and CEO of the Hershey Company, in a Feb. 8 earnings call.

Hershey has already raised prices on some grocery and food service items this year, with the latest increase last month, according to executives.

Mondelēz International, the company behind Cadbury chocolates, announced the possibility of a similar price hike for its products in a fourth quarter earnings call in late January.

Dirk Van de Put, CEO of Mondelēz International, called rising cocoa prices one of the “issues” on the company’s mind and identified the “need to price as needed.”

According to Van de Put, the price of Mondelēz chocolate increased 12% to 15% in Europe last year.

ABC News has reached out to Mondelēz International and The Hershey Company for comment on the possible price increases.

The price of cocoa had skyrocketed to around $8,000 per metric ton as of Monday, more than doubling the price of cocoa from one year ago, according to Trading Economics.

In February, the International Cocoa Organization issued its first quarterly predictions for the year, forecasting “significant declines in [cocoa] production” due to “unfavourable weather conditions and diseases.”

It also noted that “old trees in these countries are producing with lower yields.”

“The low availability of cocoa beans has led to significant increases in cocoa prices. With costs of raw materials increasing, this is likely to affect the operations of processors,” the organization stated.

“Compared to the 2022/23 season, global cocoa supply is anticipated to decline by almost 11% to 4.449 million tonnes. Global cocoa demand is projected to decrease by almost 5% to 4.779 million tonnes,” the organization noted.

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