Chocolate Easter bunnies under threat due to supply woes warn German makers

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HAMBURG (Reuters) - Tight supplies of commodities including sugar and cocoa plus global logistics problems could hit production of chocolate Easter bunnies, Germany's confectioners warned on Thursday.

"The market for important raw materials has been swept empty, longtime logistics chains no longer function," said Carsten Bernoth, chief executive of the German confectionery producers association (BDSI) in a statement.

"This could also have an impact on the upcoming Easter business such as production of chocolate rabbits because important raw materials, packing materials or transport capacity are lacking."

Chocolate makers are suffering from high world commodity prices including for wheat, sugar, milk powder, sunflower oil and soyoil, he said.

Poor harvests in some global regions coupled with heavy demand for commodities from industry in Asia had pushed prices higher. The recent surge in energy costs with a doubling of electricity prices was also hitting German industry, he said.

Rising costs for global container shipping were also an increasing burden.

But Germany's confectionery industry was able to increase 2021 production, including of salty snacks, by 1.3% to an estimated 3.9 million tonnes despite the impact of pandemic lockdowns of shops and restaurants which squeezed sales.

Of this, 2021 output of chocolate products rose by 2.7% to around 1.2 million tonnes with chocolate product production by value up 5.4% to about 5.9 billion euros.

(Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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