Is Poverty the Main Ingredient in Your Chocolate?

5 July 2018   |   Kyle Freund, Media Manager

World Chocolate Day isn’t just a day to indulge in your favorite treat – it’s also an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of cocoa farmers.

For most people, chocolate is synonymous with indulgence — a rich treat to be savored. But for the millions of small-scale farmers producing the majority of the world’s cocoa, it’s synonymous with poverty.

According to new research from Fairtrade International, the average income for cocoa farmers in the Ivory Coast – the world’s largest cocoa producer – hovers dangerously close to the level of extreme poverty. Volatile prices over the past year has battered farmers, with income from cocoa declining by as much as 36 percent.

But don’t despair – you can be part of the solution and help small-scale cocoa farmers get a better deal! Celebrate World Chocolate Day with three simple steps you can take to help cocoa farmers right now.

3 Simple Ways You Can Help

  • Learn – Inform yourself about the conditions that cocoa farmers face every day. Kick off your adventure on our cocoa section. If you’d rather watch than read, check out this documentary from Tony’s Chocolonely, a fun brand with a serious story. Or listen to the High Price of Cheap Chocolate on the SlowMelt Podcast.
  • Eat – Seek out Fairtrade certified chocolate! A label like Fairtrade means that the chocolate has been independently audited to meet standards that ensure a better price, fairer trade terms, and a premium to help families improve their communities and businesses. Find a full list of Fairtrade certified chocolate here.
  • Share – There are many ways you can share you enthusiasm for cocoa farmers. Ask your favorite store to stock certified chocolate. Ask your favorite brand where they get their cocoa. Bake a chocolate cake with Fairtrade ingredients and tell your guests why you shop for better chocolate. Teach your kids about social justice and where their food comes from (here are some great resources).

As you kick off your journey, here a few brands doing chocolate better, including not just chocolate bars, but cocoa powder, cocoa butter and more.

Still Craving Cocoa? Here are 5 Facts Every Chocolate Lover Should Know:

  • Chocolate sales in the US in 2016 were estimated at $17.6 billion.
  • Americans consume more than 9 pounds of chocolate per year.
  • 70 percent of the world’s cocoa comes from four countries – the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon.
  • The average age of a farmer in Ghana – the second largest cocoa producer – is 52 and few young people see cocoa farming as an attractive vocation.
  • An estimated 2.1 million children are engaged in hazardous work producing cocoa in Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

We’re in this together

Fairtrade America partners with brands on the journey to certification and beyond. We can help with everything from finding a certified supply chain to marketing your newly certified product.

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