Field of Science

Cost of chocolate

The time-honored, although not honorable, practice is to get someone hooked on an addictive substance by basically giving it to them free, and then once the addiction hook is set, reel them in and charge them a fortune to maintain their habit or die trying.  In general chocolate doesn't seem to fit this scenario, but like its close cousin caffeine, theobromine is an addictive stimulant.  A local chocolate maker has a semi-sweet dark chocolate containing finely ground coffee beans.  A couple of pieces of this delectable stuff gives you a real buzz, and you wonder if there should be age restrictions for buying it!  At another level, such things as chocolate come from crops in distant places, foreign countries with tropical climates, and chocolate is just taken for granted along with its affordability, so what would you pay to insure that cacao (image - cacao tree with ripe fruit) as a crop is protected and sustainable?  Well, there is a protection strategy and a price tag (visiting this link will be a good time to try out your scratch and sniff monitor).  On a world-wide basis $2 million annually is probably not too much, but you know, a couple of million here, a couple of million there, multiplied by all those other commodities people would still like to have and pretty soon you're talking real money.  Unfortunately the human race has borrowed against the future using natural resources without really paying the price for their conservation, maintenance, and sustainability.  This cost, these costs, are now going to come home to roost over the next few decades.  The free lunch is over, and things like chocolate may become pricier, a luxury.  Pay up, or go cold turkey.  HT to Agricultural Biodiversity. 

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