What big chocolate companies don’t want you to know about cacao
It’s that time of year again where supermarkets up the prices for chocolates to fit the needs of Valentine’s Day. However, major chocolate companies have a hidden secret. Did you know that most of our food in America is directly linked to third world nations’ slave labor? Specifically, big name brand chocolate companies who hold account for more than 35% of the chocolate sales, receive their cacao from slave labors in Africa. Unfortunately, most of these slave laborers are children. A 2011 Tulane University study found a “projected total of 819,921 children in Ivory Coast and 997,357 children in Ghana ‘worked’ on cocoa-related activities” in 2007-2008. Isn’t that heartbreaking? Now, before you go off and ban chocolate treats for good, take a look at a list on how you can prevent yourself from buying unethical chocolate.
Look for the Fair Trade label on your chocolate products. This means that farmers paid fair prices for the cacao beans, fair labor is being observed, and local communities are supported. Furthermore, this means your are not willingly participating in unethical treatment. Unfortunately, this can costs farmers thousands of dollars to obtain the Fair Trade certificate.
Say No to Big Companies
Since not all farmers can afford the Fair Trade certification, you have to become smart shoppers. Avoid the big brand companies and shop locally. Delysia Chocolatier is proud to say they use ethically sourced cacao in their products. Essentially, the less middleman there is from cacao beans to final product, the better. Look for keywords like “direct trade” or “bean-to-bar”. Those signals will help you determine if they use ethical cacao.
I know this seems like a lot for chocolate, but cacao is an essential part of our lives. We use it a lot! By buying from ethically sourced providers you are supporting your community while simultaneously help putting a stop to child labor. How awesome is that?