Is Chocolate In Danger of Going Extinct?

Maybe your New Year’s Resolution was to cut back on the amount of sweet treats you indulge in. Or perhaps, you wanted to try introducing some health-boosting dark chocolate into your snacking. But now you may have one more chocolate-themed concern on your mind. A new report says that cacao plants – the source of chocolate ingredients – are in danger of going extinct within the next 40 years.

Cacao plants are only able to grow in specific climates and temperatures. Currently, plants are only thriving in a few areas, and over half of the world’s comes from only two African countries: Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. But the future of these crops is unsteady, as rising global temperatures are threatening the steady and stable climates cacao plants need. In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that by 2050, these currently-suitable crop locations won’t be usable.

But of course, not all hope is lost. In addition to all of the great work scientists and researchers are doing to preserve our planet, some brands are pitching in through creative means. Business Insider reports that Mars, the candy company that owns popular labels like Snickers, Dove, M&Ms, and more, recently pledged $1 billion to “Sustainability in a Generation,” an effort reduce the business’ carbon footprint by 60% before 2050.

“We’re trying to go all in here,” Mars Chief Sustainability Officer Barry Parkin told the publication. “There are obviously commitments the world is leaning into but, frankly, we don’t think we’re getting there fast enough collectively.”

As part of this huge effort, Mars is also is working with a team of scientists at UC Berkeley to innovate a stronger cacao plant. This revolutionary collaboration is working to create disease-resistant cacao plants that won’t wither at different temperatures and elevations.

If this all works out, it will be great news for the planet – and chocolate enthusiasts. Technology that can help plants adapt to changing temperatures is a crucial forward-thinking measure that goes beyond just candy!

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Lead image via Dreamstime


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