The Most Surprising Foods That Could Be Going Extinct, Revealed

With everything at our fingertips, it is difficult to imagine staple foods suddenly becoming unavailable. But the truth is, many of your favorite ingredients are endangered. So what is causing the shortage? It’s mostly the world’s changing climate and overconsumption. Follow along to find out which foods are on the chopping block of extinction and how their endangerment could impact your pocketbook. 

1. Eel

Single fresh European eel
Eel is being overfished. | PicturePartners/iStock/Getty Images
  • It costs $1,300 per pound of baby eel.

Eel is disappearing and it is largely due to Japan’s affinity for unagi (eel dishes). Surprisingly, the price per pound for this Japanese delicacy has dropped from its 2013 all-time high of $2,400 per pound. Nevertheless, eel is being overfished and will be unlikely to rebound. To put this into perspective, a pound of eel costs the same as a pound of gold. You choose.

Next: Do you love to bake? You may be rethinking certain recipes.

2. Vanilla

vanilla extract in a bottle and pods
Crops have taken a major hit. | fermate/iStock/Getty Images
  • It costs $278 per pound of vanilla.

Vanilla farmers in Madagascar are in the weeds and it’s because of cyclones. In March 2017, Cyclone Ewano struck Madagascar — one of the world’s largest vanilla growers — and crops took a major hit. Will Madagascar bounce back? Back in 2004, the country faced massive destruction in the aftermath of Cyclone Galifo. Vanilla prices rose to $226 per pound, but the supply managed to eventually bounce back. Considering cyclones don’t continue to wreak havoc on the country, supplies and costs will level out.

Next: Could this all-time favorite become a thing of the past? 

3. Chocolate

Melted chocolate
Climate change is affecting cocoa bean production. | Francois Nascimbeni/AFP/Getty Images
  • Chocolate is a $102.3 billion industry.

Obviously chocolate has not gone extinct, but its stability doesn’t look promising. The world’s largest cocoa bean growers in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire (Africa) are facing climate changes and an infectious fungus that has taken its toll on crops. While beans are grown in other regions of the world — Brasil and Ecuador — the prices are climbing. The truth is that the supply isn’t able to fulfill the demand, which inevitably means higher prices for the consumer.

Next: Healthy snacking could change. 

4. Chickpeas

Healthy Roasted
Droughts have affected the chickpea industry. |
  • Price of hummus has increased by one-third.

Who doesn’t love a little hummus every now and then, or daily? This vegetarian staple has been a popular source of protein in the Middle East for thousands of years, yet recent droughts in India have been causing concern for the stability of the chickpea industry. Hummus prices are rising, and vegans are shaking in their canvas boots.

Next: How much will you pay for this pantry essential? 

5. Peanuts

Peanut production has seen some struggles. | AFP/Getty Images
  • Peanut prices climbed 30% in 2016.

The classic American peanut butter and jelly sandwich has never been considered a luxury, until now. From droughts to major flooding in the southern states of America, the 2016 harvest suffered and prices jumped 30 percent. Even though 2017 growing season produced 3.5 million tons of peanuts, the outlook is only promising if the weather cooperates. And from the way things are going, it’s a toss-up.

Next: Find out what all the buzz is about. 

6. Honey

Pesticides are killing bees. | Almaje/iStock/Getty Images
  • One-third of the world’s bees are gone.

Legislative chairman of the American Honey Producers Association, Mark Jensen, has explained that “We’ve lost a lot of bees here in the U.S.” Even though bees are crucial to the pollination and production of major U.S. crops, pesticides are killing them. Without honeybees, there is no honey. Hopefully, the revival of beekeepers will bolster honey production on a local level.

Next: This plant-based milk isn’t a sustainable product. 

7. Almonds

Whole almonds in a bowl
California has been dealing with many weather issues. | YelenaYemchuk/iStock/Getty Images
  • Nearly all of U.S. almonds are grown in California.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that California has been dealing with insane weather cycles. From a five-year drought to a slush of flooding, the state’s agriculture industry has seen better decades. When it comes to almonds, specifically, it takes over a gallon of water to produce one single almond. That means that as water becomes less available, so do almonds.

Next: There is a reason this delicious stuff is so expensive. 

8. Maple syrup

Maple syrup in glass bottle
Climate change has affected sugar maple growth. |
  • 40 liters of sap equal 1 liter of maple syrup.

For decades, the maple syrup industry has experienced a roller coaster of emotions. A lot of resources and energy go into producing the syrup, which is why the sticky stuff seems to cost an arm and a leg (especially the organic variety). According to NPR’s coverage, “Climate change has led to warmer, drier growing seasons, stunting the growth of sugar maples.”

Next: Nature’s butter is becoming more and more expensive.

9. Avocado

California’s droughts have caused costs to increase. | Ilietus/iStock/Getty Images
  • Production costs have increased by 36 times.

Despite rumors of full-on avocado extinction, “nature’s butter” isn’t technically going anywhere — besides the fruit bowls of the wealthy. The truth about avocados is that California’s multi-year drought has caused their costs to significantly climb. In fact, those production costs have increased 36 times — from $72 per acre-foot to $2,600 per acre-foot. That translates to very expensive avocados in your local grocery store.

Next: Sushi is wreaking havoc on this fish. 

10. Bluefin tuna

Bluefin tuna really fresh
It’s a victim of overfishing. | LUNAMARINA/iStock/Getty Images
  • One bluefin tuna sold for over $1.75 million.

The world loves sushi, and for good reason — it’s delicious. But with that ravenous love of the Japanese delicacy has come an extreme overfishing of bluefin tuna. As the species currently swims, the World Wildlife Fund, bluefin tuna is sixth most endangered species on earth. Curtailing your tuna consumption may be a good idea, considering at the current rate it may soon become extinct.

Next: How much are you willing to pay for that morning cup of joe? 

11. Coffee

Cup of coffee
Climate change has impacted coffee production. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images
  • Rainfall has cut India’s coffee harvest by 30%.

There is a lot brewing in the way of coffee production, and it isn’t good. Climate change has made significant impacts on production, and it will continue. According to NPR, “The researchers projected that by 2050, climate change could reduce the amount of ground usable to grow coffee in Latin America by up to 88 percent.” Your grandchildren may need to find a new resource for the beloved morning ritual.

Next: Lack of fishing regulations has led to major shortages. 

12. Whitefish

The population has dwindled due to overfishing. | zhaubasar/iStock/Getty Images

Fish is delectable and facing major shortages, once again, because of overfishing. The lack of regard from commercial fisheries has left oceans lacking in the white fish department. Whitefish encompasses pollock, haddock, hoki, hake, cod, redfish, roughies, whiting, and Chilean sea bass. Your fish and chips addiction may need to take a hike.

Next: Smoothies no more? 

13. Bananas

Crops are suffering from disease. | LightFieldStudios/iStock/Getty Images

In the 1950s, Fusarium Wilt (aka Panama disease) infected nearly all of the bananas grown in Central and South America. Wildly enough, the disease has spread to new continents. While farmers started growing a different variety of Panama disease-resistant bananas, a new disease known as Fusarium fungus popped up in the late 1900s, killing off bananas in Southeast Asia and Australia. Will production be able to meet the demand? Only time will tell.

Next: This next “food group” endangerment may break your heart. 

14. Wine

Two wine glasses
Climate change has affected growing regions. | ValentynVolkov/iStock/Getty Images

Not all is lost for wine lovers, but it’s important to know that the regions in which you choose your favorite wines may inevitably change. Rising temperatures due to the climate change have proven to be a game changer, as famed growing regions of France and California have been faced with difficult conditions. That being said, new regions will inevitably come to the forefront, such as the United Kingdom and the American Midwest.

Next: This Louisiana hot sauce may be facing the end of an era. 

15. Tabasco sauce

Tabasco Sauce
Rising water levels have impacted the pepper growing area. | Bjorn-Larsson/iStock/Getty Images

The McIlhenny Company is famously known for producing its signature Tabasco sauce for nearly 150 years. These Tabasco peppers are exclusively grown in Avery Island, Louisiana. The kicker is, the marshlands of the state are being actively taken over as water levels increase. The company has become environmental activists as they work to maintain the water levels, but unless something majorly shifts with climate change, Tabasco sauce will be a thing of the past.

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Source: Bloomberg, Ranker