A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
By Nina Pajak
For those of you who heard about the latest inflated panic, the EXTREME AND LIFE-ENDING SHORTAGE ON ALL THE WORLD’S COCOA SUPPLY, you can calm down. Remove the bags of fun size Twix from behind the ceiling panel. Go ahead and put those Lindt bars back in the cabinet, not below a false bottom in your sock drawer. Yes, you should even probably rethink sawing that hole in your closet wall to create a secret safe for your classiest of classy, artisanal bon bons. And you there, yes you with the cart full of Costco bags of Halloween candy on sale—take a breath, collect yourself, and slowly step away from the industrial jar of Raisinets. Put. It. Down.
It’s true that many sources have been claiming increasingly alarming reports of a perfect storm of cocoa crop problems and excessive global consumer demand that will result in a terrible, unthinkable world where chocolate is more valuable than gold and people get violently mugged for eating a Dove bar on the street and houses give out only pennies and SweetTarts on Halloween. I keep imagining Good Humor trucks covered in armor and the teenager who works at Sixteen Handles carrying a semi-automatic weapon. I will admit, I briefly considered squirreling away all the chocolate I could buy and then enrolling in some sort of hand-to-hand combat training. But take heart! For USA Today brings us good tidings.
Michael Segal, a spokesman for the International Cocoa Organization (who should know that I am 100% available should any jobs open up in their Tasting, Marketing or Espionage departments) gave the newspaper reassuring word that everything is totally normal. Market fluctuations are par for the course, and they are in no way forecasting a “1 million metric ton” gap by 2020, double that by 2030, or anything close to it.
“‘There might be a small, fairly insignificant deficit or a small, fairly insignificant surplus,’ [Segal] said.”
Well. That sounds super . . . not interesting. It certainly doesn’t make me want to run out and spend all my disposable income on chocolate products. I can’t imagine why anyone would give inflated and fear-mongering statistics like the one mentioned above unless the groups providing those numbers were, like, two of the world’s largest producers of chocolate or something and wanted to goose sales and create business-stimulating headlines. Oh, is that you, Mars Inc. and Callebaut? Oh, ha ha, hai. I get it now.
This thing is starting to feel complicated. Good thing I’ve recently made the decision since I began writing this column to go into a career as a cocoa industry spy/conspiracy theorist.
Of course, there is always the possibility that the International Cocoa Organization is downplaying the problem in a “nothin’ to see here, folks” stalling tactic so that candy companies don’t all abandon cocoa crops as a primary source for laboratory-engineered substitutes or <shudder> carob.
I would rather eat the damn Halloween pennies. You hear me, carob industry? Pennies. We’re onto you and your subterfuge. You won’t get away with this.
Nina Pajak is a writer living with her husband, daughter and dog in Queens. Connect with Nina on Twitter!