If you're one that buys chocolate for Easter, be prepared for leaner supplies and higher prices for the brown gold on vendor's shelves this spring. A ban on exported cocoa from Ivory Coast in Africa, the top source in the world, has diminished world supplies and could lead to a chocolate shortage.
The ban was invoked by the new legally elected president of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattarra, in an effort to drive out the former leader, Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to yield power. This move has been supported by the international community, including the U.S.Meanwhile, coffee and cocoa beans continue to pile up in Ivory Coast warehouses. Producers are threatening to destroy last year's harvest in protest, rather than watch it decay. To illustrate their point, they recently burned sacks of cocoa beans on the steps of the EU headquarters in the nation's capital, Abidjan, to make their point.
Over a third of the world's cocoa comes from Ivory Coast. Coffee and cocoa exports represent approximately 40% of the country's export income.
If you believe that better information will help the U.S. turn around its obesity epidemic, then a new move from the beverage industry could be a useful tool. The voluntary Clear On Calories program calls for displaying calorie counts clearly on the front of single-serving bottles or cans.
The program, a response to Michelle Obama's call to fight child obesity, has been embraced by most of the big hitters in the soft drink/juice industry, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper and Sunny Delights.
The labels are appearing on some products now, and should be on all drinks bottled by these companies by next year.
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