Binge Now: Chocolate Prices May Spike

Soaring cocoa prices slim down candy makers' profit margins
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2009 10:52 AM CST
Binge Now: Chocolate Prices May Spike
Solid chocolate, top, is tempered or melted for Valentine's Day candies at the Thomas Sweet Chocolate shop in Princeton, N.J., Monday, Feb. 11, 2008.   (AP Photo/Mike Derer)

Soaring cocoa prices have left chocolate makers wondering how far they can hike prices without souring business, the Wall Street Journal reports. Crop woes in Africa have kept cocoa pricey despite the global commodities slump. Chocolate companies are mostly holding prices steady for now but many are expected to fatten their slim profit margins after the Valentine's Day rush.

Sales of chocolate rose 2.3% in the US last year despite the downturn, but retailers say shoppers are scaling back their Valentine's Day spending this year. To avoid passing on cocoa prices to consumers, high-end chocolatier Godiva has cut back on fancy packaging and replaced truffles with solid chocolate in its boxes. (More chocolate stories.)

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