Rising chocolate prices creating new burden

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The price of chocolate is on the rise meaning buying chocolate treats could start to burn a hole in your pocket or at least those of the people who manufacture them.

Baker's Boutique uses a variety of cocoa products in their baking including the batter, icing and ganache in their popular chocolate truffle cupcake.

"Of course when it goes into the cost of our raw materials and they go up, that always is going to affect us," said Callie Ash, an owner of Baker's Boutique. "We try to keep our prices low, so it's not going to be good when it goes up."

Ash said it's a matter of balancing raising prices at the burden of the consumer or taking a hit to their profit margin.

"We pre-ordered for the holidays, so we were able to keep our prices low," Ash said. "Once it's all sold out and we have to reorder, then we're going to need to pass that, if the cost rises, we'll have to pass that onto the consumer."

Enstrom Candies has their cocoa prices locked in until next year, so your favorite box of chocolate covered toffee for the holidays shouldn't rise in price just yet.

"We buy chocolate on a contract basis, so we lock our prices in kind of a year in advance," said Patrick Zachary, of Enstrom Candies. "But next year when we're looking at prices, we'll definitely see an increase."

Cocoa can only be grown ten degrees north and south of the equator, which is a narrow area plagued by political problems in many parts of the world, Zachary said.

These problems along with environmental factors can take their toll on cocoa farmers and production leading to the cocoa shortage and rising prices.

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