Food & Beverage

5 reasons chocolate is so hot right now

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Addicted to chocolate? That guilty pleasure may be putting a hole in your wallet.

This Valentine's Day, Americans will spend nearly $800 million on the sweet stuff, according to the National Confectioners Association.

Satisfying the sweet tooth got more expensive in 2013 as cocoa prices jumped 21 percent—the second biggest commodity gain behind natural gas.

By 2016, the global chocolate market is projected to become a nearly $99 billion industry.

What's fueling all of this growth?

Here are 5 reasons chocolate is SO HOT right now:

1) Weather: Let's face it. It's been a rough winter. Who doesn't want hot chocolate during the #snowpocalypse?

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2) Organic and fair trade: This segment of the chocolate market is expected to rise sharply in the next 5 years.

3) Changing consumer tastes: In the U.S., consumer tastes have shifted to dark chocolate, which requires more cocoa. Plus, demand for chocolate is increasing in China and India.

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4) Health benefits: Studies show that dark chocolate in small amounts may help lower blood pressure.

5) Seasonal sales: And, that brings us back to Valentine's Day. Will you be contributing to the $800 million in chocolate sales?

—By CNBC's Mary Catherine Wellons