Candy lovers around the world are contributing to a global chocolate deficit, but one chocolatier has a simple solution to the brewing crisis: pay farmers more.
Increased consumer demand, especially from emerging economies, is squeezing global cocoa production. The price of cocoa futures sits about 25 percent higher than a year ago, leading to a recent prediction from Hershey's that the higher cost of ingredients will be passed on to chocolate lovers.
"We are producing today 3.5 million tons of cocoa around the world" each year, said Jacques Torres, a master pastry chef and entrepreneur, who weighed in on the rising fears of a chocolate shortage in a CNBC interview. "We need about 4.5 (million tons annually) in about six years, by 2020."
Approximately 80 to 90 percent of cocoa bean farming is done by small, family run operations, according the World Cocoa Foundation. That has made ratcheting up production an increasingly difficult conundrum.
"Maybe the solution will be fair trade, because the farmers are not paid enough," Torres said, "and a lot of farmers are actually abandoning cocoa" for more cash-effective crops.