Or can I have my chocolate cake and coffee and consume them to?
The figure below was compiled from FAO statistics and shows the area planted to four everyday food commodity crops. Food crop here means only that these crops are ingested by humans as two of them have no calorific value whatsoever. And while cocoa oil can act as a “food” it is a non essential entertainment food (i.e. luxury) consumed mainly in rich countries – with much of the calories being made up from sugar and other sources of fat (animal) or palm oil.
The point of posting this graph is to demonstrate firstly, the rapid growth in area planted to palm oil. But that is a frequent topic on energy blogs anyway.
What also interested me was the fact that the area planted to palm oil only exceeded that planted to coffee in 2000: something I have never heard reported or discussed. It surpassed cocoa in about 1985. In fact in all the talk of the environmental destruction of oil palms there is never any mention of the historical (often colonial era) destruction as a result of coffee, chocolate and tea. Using area as our statistic the environmental destruction due to coffee and cocoa still exceeds that of oil palms.