What is Fair Trade Chocolate?
Chocolate is a huge commodity — in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day alone, Americans eat up to 58 million pounds! It’s not all sweet though, most of the chocolate available in today’s grocery stores has very little cocoa in it, try to find the percentage on the label of your next chocolate bar. Instead, companies add things like hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, and high fructose corn syrup. What’s more, the cocoa they do put in their bars can sometimes be farmed by children. According to a recent Tulane University study, up to 2 million children work harvesting cocoa in West Africa, where more than 70% of the world’s cocoa comes from.
Fair trade chocolate, on the other hand, is sweet in every way! The farmers receive a fair wage for their work, plus a fair trade premium for community development projects. They harvest the cocoa beans using sustainable practices that protect the earth and make sure the beans are the highest quality.
This means that while the farmers get paid fairly for their cocoa, there isn’t enough demand for fair trade so the chocolate goes unsold or gets sold as conventional chocolate. Global consumers need to demand fair trade from chocolate companies on a larger scale.
Fair Trade cocoa co-ops earned $17.7 million from the fair trade premiums paid to farmers. Unfortunately, this is only 0.1% of the global chocolate market. So, while the demand for fair trade chocolate is growing at a great pace, the market is still dominated by conventional cocoa, which is not good quality and does not support fair wages or safe working conditions.
Fun Chocolate Facts
Not-So-Fun Chocolate Facts
How Does Chocolate Grow?
Cocoa beans grow in pods on trees. They grow best in regularly warm or hot weather with a lot of humidity and rainfall. Cocoa can only be grown around the equator where this kind of climate is prevalent.
Cocoa trees can product up to 20 pods a year. Each pod holds about 30 or 40 seeds, encased in a sticky white pulp that is crucial to the fermentation process.
Learn More About Fair Trade Chocolate
Our Chocolate Brand Comparison gives you all the facts on which chocolate companies use bad stuff like artificial flavors, GMOs, child labor and high fructose corn syrup and which companies use the best ingredients without all the bad stuff. Hint hint, the fair trade brands come out on top!
* Please note: We are unable to ship any chocolate until early fall when the temperature drops down. In the summer the chocolate will melt in the mail, which would be a travesty! Thanks for your patience and understanding.*
Fair trade chocolate is as delicious as it is empowering!
Fair trade farmers earn a living wage by growing cocoa that is natural and sustainable.
Use fair trade chocolate in your favorite baked good recipes, pair a bar with a fine wine, take to a dinner party, or eat anytime for a quick pick me up!