3 facts all chocolate lovers need to know

There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction after a dash to the vending machine in the short break of a lecture. I’m still not convinced by the new M&M version of the treasured Cadbury’s Mini Eggs (?!), but I’m always partial to Maltesers or a Galaxy bar!

And I’m not alone.

Over 3 billon kg of cocoa is consumed worldwide every year and in the UK we eat on average 11.5kg of chocolate a year (the equivalent of 230 Twix bars)!

However, as we devour into our favourite chocolate snacks, do we really think enough about where the ingredients are coming from, and the quality of life of those who produce them?

Recently I looked into Fairtrade…

Fairtrade invests monetary premiums into the livelihoods and communities of the small-scale farmers that produce things like cocoa, but despite over 4,500 products in the UK being certified Fairtrade, it’s not something I’ve ever really paid that much attention to.

Until now.

And having dived into the chocolatey depths of the cocoa industry further, here’s 3 facts I think all chocolate lovers like me need to know:

1. Most cocoa farmers have never tasted chocolate! :-O

Yep, that’s right, as we tuck into our chocolatey deliciousness, 60% of West African cocoa farmers are living in extreme poverty and chocolate is a luxury they simply can’t afford.

A switch to Fairtrade supports a living income to become the norm for cocoa farmers, allowing them to live a more dignified life, able to pay for essentials like food, clothing and education.

2. Only 10% of cocoa produced in West Africa is certified as Fairtrade

This is despite being the biggest global producer of cocoa.

A simple switch to Fairtrade supports the Fairtrade Premium for more people (an additional sum of money paid on top of the Fairtrade price) continues to invest in the lives of 263,825 small-scale farmers across 21 countries

3. The climate crisis is having devastating effects on global food production

Yes, that’s right, your chocolate could be at risk! :-O. Farmers are battling less predictable seasons, more plant diseases and weather extremes, leading to a lack of food supply. Crops struggle to be harvested, and farmers work longer hours for lower prices.

By choosing Fairtrade, shoppers in the UK are ensuring that farmers and workers receive a Fairtrade Premium to invest in economic, social and environmental products of their own choice. It means they can implement a range of environmental protection programmes which contribute to the range of solutions needed to mitigate against the effects of climate catastrophes and ultimately benefit us all.” (Fairtrade Foundation 2020)

What can we take away from these hard-hitting facts?

Like a lot of the decisions that we make in our lives at the moment, we can all think about how even the smallest of steps in changing our lifestyle choices can help to implement more sustainable measures into businesses, working industries, and the livelihood of communities all over the world.

Next time you do a food shop, challenge yourself to look out for the Fairtrade symbol!

Find out more

Try 15 Fairtrade chocolate choices you can find on the high street

Visit the Fairtrade website

About the author

Lauren Mistretta is a 3rd year Film Production student and big chocolate lover!

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