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Industry experts predict 'massive shortfall in chocolate'

Soaring demand from Asia has contributed to a "massive shortfall" in chocolate, which industry experts say could hit consumers in five years time.

Switzerland's Barry Callebaut Group and Mars both warned supply could fail to meet demand by one million tonnes in 2020.

Master chocolatier Paul Young tried to reassure chocolate lovers on Good Morning Britain that they would still be able to buy their favourite treat.

Cocoa prices rose by a quarter within 12 mouths and peaked in August at £2,000 per tonne.

However, 70% of the world's cocoa comes from West Africa, which is currently battling the Ebola outbreak.

The chaos and quarantine restrictions mean global production has dipped by 0.7 per cent, the London-based International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) said.

But consumers are also getting hungrier for sweet treats - especially in developing nations like China, meaning manufacturers may have no choice but to raise prices.

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Chemists create juice-infused half fat chocolate

An employee checks chocolate bars from Ritter, at their headquarters in Germany in 2012. Credit: Marijan Murat/DPA/Press Association Images

Chemists have found a way to half the fat of chocolate by blending the ingredients with juices.

Scientists at the American Chemical Society conference said they have discovered a way to keep the velvety texture of chocolate by using the gelling agent agar to make tiny "sponges" that displace fat.

Dr Bon from the University of Warwick, who led the research, said his team have found a chemical method of using water, fruit juice or even alcohol to replace up to half the fat. He said:

"We have established the chemistry that’s a starting point for healthier chocolate confectionary. This approach maintains the things that make chocolate 'chocolatey', but with fruit juice instead of fat.

"Now we're hoping the food industry will take the next steps and use the technology to make tasty, lower-fat chocolate bars and other candy."