Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Food Issue: Choosing Fairtrade

Almost 50 million people in the world depend on chocolate... no not like that. They depend on the cocoa crop for their income. And yes, we may think that we depend on chocolate. It certainly keeps me perky but it's important to remember that only 6% of the price we pay, in as consumers in well off countries, goes to growers.

Another problem with cocoa production is child labour. If you are aged between 5 and 17 and you live in a cocoa producing region there is a one in four chance that you are working with cocoa. There seems to be a bit of a disconnect when talking about child labour. We think it is bad and so our immediate reaction is to say ban it. Stop it. I won't buy any chocolate produced with child labour. But it's not like people send their children out to work for no reason. Kids end up working because the family can not be supported with the parent's income or there are no parents in the picture and no other support network. Child labour is a problem of poverty. It's no good ending child labour without supporting the community.

Fairtrade chocolate is our way of supporting cocoa growers and their communities and we especially love Divine chocolate. 45% of Divine is owned by a farmer's co-op and their chocolate is brilliant and delicious. All of their products are suitable for vegetarians and

70% Dark Chocolate, 70% Mint Dark Chocolate, 70% Dark Chocolate Hearts, 70% Dark Chocolate Advent Calendar, 70% Dark Chocolate Mini Eggs, 70% Dark Chocolate Easter Egg, After Dinner Mints and Divine Delights are possible choices for vegans, though we cannot guarantee these products are totally milk-free as milk is used elsewhere in the factory.

Sorry, what? Mint Dark Chocolate. I haven't tried this one before! And as it's vegan mofo, and as it's vegan chocolate, and as they sell it in my local Oxfam shop I'm going to have to try it. Stephen and I shared the entire bar after our tea and I loved it to bits although Stephen found the after taste a bit bitter. I didn't think it was too bitter, but then I often find things too sweet.

I love eating divine chocolate but it isn't just about enjoying eating it, I also get to enjoy paying for it. And that isn't something I say everyday.

All figures, percentages and facts from the first two paragraphs were taken from this Fairtrade foundation report (PDF)

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