Chocolate shortage looming, scientists warn Chocolate lovers, beware: scientists contend that climate change and diseases affecting cocoa could spur shortages of chocolate in the future.

Scientific American reports that demand for chocolate is on the rise, as supplies have steadily declined throughout the world. Experts contend that chocolate, derived from seeds of the cacao tree, could become scarce in the future, as demand continues to climb and diseases attack cacao trees.

Manufacturers currently produce approximately 3.7 million metric tons of cocoa each year, but that figure is not expected to satiate global demand by 2020, according to the Los Angeles Times. Farmers are currently working with scientists to develop ways to combat diseases afflicting cacao trees, but their efforts have thus far been unsuccessful.

Companies such as Hershey are eying developments carefully, especially as they would be significantly impacted by a chocolate shortage. While overhauling supply chain management could help producers increase efficiency, experts worry that there simply will not be enough chocolate in the future unless scientists develop an effective method for battling the pests, fungal infections and other environmental factors affecting the cacao tree.

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