Don’t Shun That Box of Chocolate You Get This Valentine’s Day

Love (this year) is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you just got.

Don’t shun that box of chocolates this Valentine’s Day–even if that’s all you get. It’s going to cost a few more coins 🙂

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This year, perhaps more than ever, kisses may not come cheap.

At least not those made of chocolate on Valentine’s Day.

The price of cocoa, the main ingredient in most chocolate, soared last year, forcing chocolate producers to raise prices and shrink packages.

A growing appetite for chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, which requires more cocoa, in China and other Asian markets is the primary cause, commodity analysts say.

“What’s driving up the price, really, is rising demand for cocoa in Asia, though it also was pretty strong in North America and Europe,” said Edward George, head of soft commodities research at EcoBank.

Another factor is the harmattan, a dry, dusty wind that began sweeping the major cocoa producing countries in West Africa in December, the beginning of the prime cocoa harvesting season. The harmattan has been worse than usual this year.

Cocoa trees also suffered attacks by witches’ broom and frosty pod, fungi that can cause steep losses.

The average dollar price for a ton of cocoa was $2,921.05 last month, according to the International Cocoa Organization. That was slightly higher than the price