The environment and global populations are undergoing an unprecedented amount of change, very fast. The human race now numbers around 7 billion people. This means that certain things we take for granted, including the most basic items like food, water and medicines, could become rarer or harder to produce. Many people living in relatively wealthy nations don’t yet realize the consequences of global shifts.
Bigger and wealthier populations, like the burgeoning upper-class in China, are creating a huge new demand for all kind of products. This demand and other factors are bringing about a scarcity of certain products. Here are five items which are about to go up in price significantly:
Tequila is made from the agave plant, native to Mexico. In addition to agave being a notoriously difficult plant to farm, alcohol producers must also wait for the plant’s 12th year to use it for distilling. After several years of significant crop failures and a shift in national economics, agave crop numbers are looking quite poor – which means less plants for the production of alcohol. Look out for a significant rise in the cost of this highly popular party beverage.
Chocolate, or cocoa beans, were imported to Europe by Spanish explorers from Central America. Ever since, the sweet treat has been a staple product of almost every nation around the world. Centuries since its popularization, the cocoa bean is still a tough crop to cultivate, requiring five years to harvest a crop and intensive labor in hot, equatorial climates. Today, the majority of the world’s cocoa is farmed in an area of Africa, using slave-like labor. Real chocolate, that which contains cocoa butter, will likely become prohibitively expensive.
3. Sweet Light Crude
Ever since the beginning of the petroleum extracting and refining industry, the easiest type of crude oil to harvest and process has been sweet light crude. After years of extraction and exhaustion of sources, fracking shale projects have swept across North America. As shocking as it might sound, it is now more cost effective to blow up rock formations and trigger earthquakes rather than probe deeper into oil wells. As sweet light crude supplies dwindle, energy companies will have no choice but to raise prices for consumers and/or provide a lesser quality product.
On a global level, the wine industry is going through a lack of supply, the worldwide chain of wine consumption is now short by about 300 million cases per year, slowly draining wine reserves around the globe. Over the past few years, wine consumption has risen and production has decreased at about 5% per year. Europe alone has seen a 10% drop.
5. Fresh Water
Humankind needs fresh water in order to survive. It is precisely water, however, which is becoming more and more rare with time and environmental change – California is experiencing a prolonged drought and water shortage. Financial speculators around the world are investing in water supplies, and countries everywhere are coming into more conflicts based on water supplies.