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There's an old saying in the commodity markets that "the trend is your friend." Well, if you happen to be a candy manufacturer, the trend in the cocoa markets has decidedly not been your friend. Cocoa futures prices, which trade at the New York Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange, have doubled in price over the past year and market watchers say the surging bull market in cocoa may not be over yet, though there is some room for prices to come down.
Skyrocketing cocoa prices hurt manufacturers of dark chocolate the most, as 50% to 70% of a high quality dark chocolate bar must be derived directly from the cocoa bean. But, rising cocoa prices have affected the industry across the board and with potential for cocoa prices to remain firm, some manufacturers are actually considering shifting into products with a lesser cocoa component or more fillings, said Pam Thornton, a member of the Cocoa Merchants Association.
What's caused cocoa prices to explode higher over the past …