While the cost of cocoa butter has increased 70% in the last year, retail chocolate prices have only crept up 7% in the U.S., according to the NCA. That won't change too much in the immediate future, Hershey spokesman Jeff Beckman said, since seasonal orders and wholesale pricing are set six months in advance. How long this situation will continue is unclear, but consumers seem willing to pay as the largest growth in the chocolate category is coming from the more expensive luxury chocolate, dark chocolate, and natural or organic chocolates. Alternatives to raising prices include using less cocoa in products or making products smaller, said the International Cocoa Organization.
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