Because of a rare type of fungus that killed off many cacao trees in Brazil, there was an unusually meager harvest of cacao beans this year. The wholesale price of cocoa solids and cocoa butter has increased significantly and is unlikely to fall in the foreseeable future. As a result, the retail price of chocolate is certain to increase within six months.


Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument above?


(A) Consumers will purchase other sweets if the price of chocolate increases.


(B) Researchers have discovered an effective method to kill the fungus.


(C) Dark and bittersweet varieties of chocolate will be affected more seriously than milk varieties.


(D) The price of chocolate has decreased steadily for three years.


(E) Most chocolate in stores is manufactured from cocoa that was purchased two years earlier.



Let’s look at the stimulus given.


Premises


Because of a rare type of fungus that killed off many cacao trees in Brazil, there was an unusually meager harvest of cacao beans this year.

The wholesale price of cocoa solids and cocoa butter has increased significantly and is unlikely to fall in the foreseeable future.


Conclusion/opinion- 


As a result, the retail price of chocolate is certain to increase within six months.



We need to find an option that weakens the conclusion that the retail price of chocolate is certain to increase within the next six months.


(A) Consumers will purchase other sweets if the price of chocolate increases.


The conclusion is that the retail price of chocolate is certain to increase. This is what we have to weaken. Option A talks about what consumers would do if the price of chocolate increases. This does not impact the conclusion at all. Eliminate.


(B) Researchers have discovered an effective method to kill the fungus.


Researchers have discovered an effective method to kill the fungus, but what about this year’s harvest? The conclusion is based on this year’s harvest. Eliminate


 (C) Dark and bittersweet varieties of chocolate will be affected more seriously than milk varieties.


So? How does this tell us anything about whether there will be a rise in the retail price of chocolate in the next six months? Eliminate.


(D) The price of chocolate has decreased steadily for three years.


The conclusion is about whether there will be a rise in the retail price of chocolate in the next six months. Eliminate.


(E) Most chocolate in stores is manufactured from cocoa that was purchased two years earlier.


Option E tells us that most chocolate in stores is manufactured from cocoa that was purchased two years earlier. If that’s the case, the meager harvest of cacao beans this year will not have a huge impact on retail price for chocolates in the next six months.

Option E weakens the conclusion and is correct