This week, Americans will buy 90 MILLION POUNDS of chocolate.
90. million. pounds.
in a week.*
Can’t imagine what’s triggered that…
Chocolate. We love the stuff. First made in Mesoamerica as early as 1900 BC (that’s almost 4,000 years ago!), it was primarily drunk as a frothy potion mixed with spices. It wasn’t until the Spanish added sugar around the 16th century that chocolate as we know it started to develop.
Today, 67% of cocoa production comes from West Africa, with 43% from the country of Côte d’Ivoire alone. Close to 14 million people, in over 30 countries, depend on cocoa production.
Around 90% of the world’s cocoa supply is grown and harvested on family-owned farms of about 12 acres or less. Smaller family farms produce an average of 350 pounds of cocoa per acre in a year’s harvest, generating an average annual income of $30-100 per household member.
Unfortunately, cocoa has a dark side. The production and trading conditions in the cocoa market make it very difficult for producers to earn a living.
Cocoa farmers are often forced to negotiate with intermediaries who pay only a fraction of the actual value of their crop. As a result, farmers are often paid prices which don’t begin to cover the costs of production.
Producers also have limited access to information about what is going on in the market or how much their crops are worth, and many cannot get affordable credit.
The difficulty in making a living from cocoa farming has led to an increase in child labor, and even slave labor, in the cocoa trade.
Make chocolate sweeter. When you see this Mark, it means the chocolate adheres to Fairtrade Cocoa Standards:
- Producers are small family farms organized in co-operatives (or associations), which they own and govern.
- The minimum guaranteed price is paid directly to the farmers. When the world market price is higher than Fairtrade, the market price is paid to producers.
- A Fairtrade Premium is included in the purchase price. This premium is used by cooperatives for social and economic investments such as education, health services, processing equipment, and loans to members.
- Environmental standards restrict the use of agrochemicals and encourage sustainability.
- Advanced credit, of up to 60% of the purchase price, is given to cooperatives if requested.
- No forced labor of any kind, including child labor, is permitted.
Halloween chocolate needn’t be scary. Check out which of our Fairtrade chocolates make special Halloween versions.
*Read for more facts about what we will eat this Halloween