Forget the great recession. According to the world’s largest chocolatiers, we’re about to enter a great chocolate depression, and it’s our own fault. The Washington Post reports that Mars Inc. and Barry Callebaut have unveiled statistics that show consumption of chocolate worldwide is outpacing cocoa production and creating a chocolate deficit.

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Sound scary? It kind of is, if you’re a chocolate lover. A chocolate deficit happens when farmers produce less cocoa than the demand requires, and that scenario is quickly becoming the new norm. According to the Washington Post, we are embroiled in our longest streak of consecutive chocolate deficits in more than 50 years. To give you some hard numbers, late last year humanity consumed about 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than was produced, and that number is predicted to balloon to 1 million tonnes by 2020, and then again to 2 million tonnes by 2030 – according to studies by the two chocolate makers.

Related: Watch African Cocoa Farmers Taste Chocolate for the First Time

Disease and climate change are the two main causes of the deficit, with dry weather and a fungal disease called frosty pod in West Africa, where more than 70 percent of the world’s cocoa is produced. According to the International Cocoa Organization, it’s wiped out between 30 to 40 percent of global cocoa production, causing farmers to move away from cocoa to more stable crops like corn.

The Washington Post also notes that our appetite for chocolate is steadily growing, especially in China where the growing population is buying more chocolate every year. Demand for dark chocolate, which requires much more cocoa, is also increasing in the West – leading to a potentially disastrous supply and demand situation that spells bad news for chocophiles everywhere.

Via Washington Post

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