NEW YORK (NEWSnet/AP) — Easter baskets could come with a bitter cost this year for consumers, as the price of cocoa climbs to record highs.

Cocoa futures have surged, roughly doubling since the start of 2024. Rising temperature and weather conditions have stressed and damaged crops in West Africa, which produces more than 70% of the global cocoa supply.

Sugar price also is rising. Futures for a pound of sugar are up by about 8% in 2024.

Major chocolate companies, such as Hershey's and Cadbury-maker Mondelez have been passing those costs on to consumers. Hershey's net profit margins grew to 16.7% in 2023 from 15.8% in 2022. Mondelez reported a jump to 13.8% in 2023, from 8.6% in 2022.

Each company reported shrinking sales volume for the most recent quarters.

National Retail Federation expects a drop in spending on Easter ’24, although the total figure remains high by historical standards. Its latest survey shows consumers are expected to spend $3.1 billion on candy for the holiday, $24.78 per person. That’s down from $3.3 billion, or $26.31 per person a year ago.

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