By Fiona Purnell
The cost of chocolate looks set to rocket in the run up to Christmas, and not just because it’s almost the big day when the big jolly man in the red cloak comes to visit.
Apparently the price rise, which they say could see the cost of milk chocolate, inflate by up to 33 per cent, is due to the cost of cocoa butter going up.
This could add as much as 21p to every 100g of milk chocolate.
And the reason for that increase goes back to the weather - something we’re all familiar with in this country.
It’s been a bad season in the Ivory Coast, where the cocoa beans are grown, with the crop hit hard.
Now it looks as if the increase in price of cocoa butter, which is at a four year high, could be passed on to the consumer.
But with all this talk of chocolate costing more, it’s brought back what are now distant memories of when you could actually buy chocolate or sweets in a shop for the 50 pence pocket money you were given by your parents.
Remember those times?
It’s something I think children of today would find hard to do - although those getting pocket money no doubt have seen a rise in that over the years compared to when I was young - but still, chocolate is not cheap (and that’s before this price hike).
Nowadays you’d pay anything between 50 and 90 pence depending on what bar of chocolate you were choosing to go for - and that would just be a standard single bar, not the larger bars for sharing.
I would mention a size for these bars, however they appear to be shrinking in size while the price creeps up, or perhaps that’s just my imagination.
Going back perhaps just 20 years, these were much cheaper, and if you ask me, better value for money.
As much as I love my chocolate, when asked to pay over the odds, it frustrates me.
Can’t we all just return to the days when you could buy a chomp for 10p. A finger of fudge for 15p or a Mars Bar for 30p.
Gone are the days too of penny chews and a cheap pick and mix.
As a child it was always a treat to be able to pop to the local newsagent and buy a 10p mix.
The selection of sweets available was brilliant.
I was reminded of many of them at a wedding recently, where my friends had established a sweet cart for the reception.
It was like stepping straight back into our childhood with the choice of treats to satisfy a sweet tooth - love hearts, fruit salads, fizzy cola bottles, sweet necklaces, foam bananas, jelly beans, jelly rings and white chocolate discs.
The memories of a 10p mix came rushing back.
I know nowadays there are pick and mix stands in supermarkets and cinema foyers, but in terms of comparison there is none especially when it comes to price.
I’m always rather scared to take one of those cups and fill it - particularly in the cinema - as I hate to think how much it will cost when it’s weighed.
There’s no counting the sweets and each one being one or two pence each these days!
I appreciate that at some point additional costs have to be passed on to the consumer, but I guess I’d hope that someone would find a way, especially with chocolate to avoid this happening.
After all, we’re ina recession and for many chocolate is one of life’s small pleasures and it would be awful if we were not able to enjoy it and use it to help us get through tough times.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was someone out there who could go back to offering chocolate and sweets at the prices we used to pay and bring back the 10p mix?
If anyone decides to do this, don’t worry, I’ll be among the first few customers in line.