Possible shortage of chocolate during the holiday season

A shortage of chocolate brewing just in time for the holidays leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of local candy makers. Louise Mawhinney bought Sky Bar when Necco went bankrupt. For the past two years, she’s made the New England favorite in a Sudbury storefront, where she quickly learned how loyal Sky Bar subscribers are. “People started calling and literally crying on the phone,” Mawhinney said. “I brought in some men – grown men, older men – who were crying and hugging me. They were so relieved that someone had taken over the Sky Bar.” When Mawhinney started production, she spent time choosing the right chocolate. And although she placed an order last summer for an ongoing delivery, she was just told that her chocolate was not available. “I was just stunned,” she said. “I couldn’t even speak. I personally felt so responsible to my customers, to my employees.” Faced with a sticky situation – either shutting down and figuring out what to do with five Sky Bar employees, or making a quality product. inferior with a chocolate substitute – Mawhinney asked NewsCenter 5 for help. Sadly, a global chocolate shortage is a bitter reality. Baybutt, business partner of Sparrow Foods in East Boston, the distributor from which Mawhinney purchases Sky Bar chocolate. Baybutt said a chocolate deficit has widened as insatiable demand outstrips global production. A delicate balance in place is now starting to crumble due to COVID-19-related plant closures, labor and shipping shortages, and vacation demand. “Now we’re sort of at a point of crisis,” Baybutt said. “I hate telling the world to go out and pile up chocolate, but it’s almost like you have to if you want to make sure you have it.” Baybutt expects the chocolate supply to be slim until Valentine’s Day and probably at least until the middle of next year. NewsCenter 5 checked a number of stores and found an insufficient number of chocolate baked goods, but nothing widespread. That could change if what’s going on at Sky Bar is any indication. Mawhinney shut down Sky Bar’s online sales weeks ago, knowing its supply was low. . NewsCenter 5 also contacted the company that makes the chocolate at Sky Bar, a Swiss giant called Barry Callebaut. In a statement, Barry Callebaut told NewsCenter 5 that they are doing their best to minimize disruption to customers. After issuing this statement, Barry Callebaut delivered a new supply of chocolate directly to Sky Bar, which will allow Mawhinney to continue production for the time being.

A shortage of chocolate that is brewed just in time for the holidays leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of local confectioners.

Louise Mawhinney bought Sky Bar when Necco went bankrupt. For the past two years, she’s made the New England favorite in a Sudbury storefront, where she quickly learned how loyal Sky Bar subscribers are.

“People started calling and literally crying on the phone,” Mawhinney said. “I brought in some men – grown men, older men – who cry and hug me. They were so relieved that someone had taken over the Sky Bar.”

When Mawhinney started production, she spent time choosing the right chocolate. And although she placed an order last summer for an ongoing delivery, she was just told that her chocolate was not available.

“I was just stunned,” she said. “I couldn’t even speak. I felt, personally, so responsible to my customers, to my employees.”

Faced with a sticky situation – either shutting down and figuring out what to do with five Sky Bar employees, or making a substandard product with a chocolate substitute – Mawhinney turned to NewsCenter 5 for help.

Sadly, a global chocolate shortage is a bitter reality.

“Chocolate becomes even more popular in times of stress, so demand for chocolate has been high for over a year,” said Sally Baybutt, business partner at Sparrow Foods in East Boston, the distributor from which Mawhinney purchases the. Sky Bar chocolate.

Baybutt said a chocolate deficit has widened as insatiable demand outstrips global production. A delicate balance in place is now starting to crumble due to COVID-19-related plant closures, labor and shipping shortages, and vacation demand.

“Now we’re sort of at a critical point,” Baybutt said. “I hate telling the world to go out and collect chocolate, but it’s almost like you have to if you want to make sure you have it.”

Baybutt expects the chocolate supply to be slim until Valentine’s Day and possibly at least the middle of next year.

NewsCenter 5 checked a number of stores and found an insufficient number of chocolate baked goods, but nothing widespread. That could change if what’s going on at the Sky Bar is any indication.

Mawhinney shut down Sky Bar’s online sales weeks ago, knowing its supply was low.

“It’s never been that bad, and I just hope consumers understand it,” Mawhinney said.

NewsCenter 5 also contacted the company that makes the chocolate at Sky Bar, a Swiss giant called Barry Callebaut. In a statement, Barry Callebaut told NewsCenter 5 that they are doing their best to minimize disruption to customers. After issuing this statement, Barry Callebaut delivered a new supply of chocolate directly to Sky Bar, which will allow Mawhinney to continue production for the time being.

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