Fair Trade chocolates are perfect gift for Valentine’s Day

Column by Andrea W. Doray
Posted 2/6/19

I’m not a particular fan of chocolate overall, although, inexplicably, I am tempted by brownies and toffee. So I won’t be disappointed not to receive any chocolate candy for Valentine’s Day …

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Fair Trade chocolates are perfect gift for Valentine’s Day

Posted

I’m not a particular fan of chocolate overall, although, inexplicably, I am tempted by brownies and toffee. So I won’t be disappointed not to receive any chocolate candy for Valentine’s Day (okay, family?).

However, for those of you who will participate in the nearly $2 billion expenditure for an estimated 58 million pounds of Valentine’s chocolate this year, consider purchasing from Fair Trade and socially responsible distributors. The good news is that we can find premium Fair Trade chocolate just up the road at Chocolove in Boulder, which, as the company notes, has the ideal climate for chocolate with its dry mountain air. (We can also find Chocolove in stores and online.)

Fair Trade is a global social initiative to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions. Fair Trade Campaigns, which bills itself as a “powerful grassroots movement,” reports that 70 percent of cocoa is produced by small-holder farmers in West Africa, primarily Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. Indonesia, Brazil and Ecuador are also major cocoa-producing countries.

The organization notes that less than five percent of the world’s cocoa is produced according to Fair Trade standards, which bar child labor – there are an estimated 2.1 million child laborers on cocoa farms – and prohibit certain harmful chemicals. Fair Trade standards also help provide a framework for environmental sustainability by helping farmers invest in the future of their farms and communities.

The Fair Trade movement is certainly not without its detractors, but companies such as Chocolove have found that their customers request such ethical sourcing. In fact, Nielson reports that 51 percent of specialty chocolate sales in 2017 came from products categorized as “clean labeled” with all-natural or non-GMO ingredients. Additionally, sales of chocolates that make claims about sustainability rose more than eight percent last year.

Beyond Fair Trade, of course, is simple social responsibility. For example, Chocolove endeavors “to see that all people who work in the supply chain of Chocolove are ethically treated, properly compensated and have the opportunity to advance in life…”

Other distributors such as Green & Black’s commit to ethical sourcing standards based on International Labour Organisation Conventions and the UN Declaration of Human Rights. The founder of Theo Chocolate recognized exploitation of the land and the people farming there, and now works to champion both.

Divine Chocolate says it’s the only Fair Trade chocolate company in the world that is co-owned by cocoa farmers, and notes that every bar funds projects that include women’s literacy, model farm programs and community building.

I wish I could advise you on which of these chocolate treats to try, but I really haven’t tasted them. Just a note, though: I’ve gifted Chocolove before, partly because of their cool packaging that’s perfect for Valentine’s Day!

If you’re like me, we don’t often stop to consider where our food comes from, but with more than 55 percent of us planning to purchase candy or chocolates for Valentine’s Day, it’s nice to know that we have options … options that, in addition to delighting the receivers, might just help other people halfway around the world.

By the way, those (sustainably produced) chocolate-dipped strawberries are on par with brownies and toffee … okay, family?

Andrea Doray is a writer who believes that simple greeting cards and a bloom or two are enchanting on Valentine’s Day. Contact Andrea at a.doray@andreadoray.com.

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