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Reclaim American Jobs - Buy American Chocolate

Updated on November 21, 2015

Chocolate is famous both as a gift and a great connection for both holiday and romance. Often given during holidays such as Easter, Valentine's Day, chocolate coins for Hanukkah and tiny presents for the Christmas stocking. The beauty of chocolate is not just its rich taste but its ability to be shaped and molded in delight little treasurers from hearts to bunnies and more. Hot chocolate is another favorite for both adults and children alike. Love chocolate but I also love my neighbors being employed.

Can I buy chocolate that is both made and distributed here in the United States? Can I buy high quality dark chocolate made in the USA? The answers are all yes.

Check out the best of the best chocolate below offering great choices from 4 star chocolate - made in the USA and headquartered on other shores and 5 stars chocolate - made in the USA and headquartered here on US soil! Learn about cocoa and cocoa butter, learn about the oligopoly of Big Chocolate and much more.

Reclaim American jobs - buy American made, buy chocolate from a company headquartered in the United States.

4 and 5 Star "Celebrate Made in USA!"

4 **** Celebration

4 Stars Made in the USA - manufactured in the United States, headquartered overseas.

5 ***** Celebration

5 Stars Made in the USA - manufactured in the United States, headquartered in the United States.

Production of Chocolate

Chocolate Sources

The world's cocoa is produced primarily in Western Africa (estimates range from 2/3 to 3/4 of the world's production is from Western Africa). Sadly, reports have been made that the production uses child labor. Children in cocoa production are deprived of an education and a childhood. The World Cocoa Foundation states that 50 million people consume cocoa but how many of us know of the plight of the children in this industry?

Chocolate Slavery

"Chocolate slavery today is wide spread in West African countries such as Mali, the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Ghana, and Nigeria. 90% of the chocolate labor force is young children either kidnapped from their home lands, or sold into slavery, robbing them of their freedom and chance for education. In Mali, children are bought and sold for $30 in U.S currency from poor areas."[1]

Chocolate - Cocoa Solids and Cocoa Butter

Cocoa is made from both cocoa solids and cocoa butter. The definition is not clear, the term cocoa loosely refers to both ingredients. Cocoa butter and cocoa solids are completely different. Here is a quick summary:

Coca Content - Cocoa Butter Verses Cocoa Solids

"Cocoa content" is simply an indicator of the bar’s weight is comprised the combined weight of cocoa butter and dry cocoa particles (i.e. cocoa powder). To find the amount of cocoa butter, you have to look at the fat content. Confusing I know. The labeling is not made simple.

Cocoa butter is a stable fat that contains natural antioxidants that prevent rancidity providing a storage life between 2 and 5 years! Often used in the cosmetic industry to add life to a product - adding life without chemical preservatives. Cocoa butter has a smooth texture, sweet fragrance and the item the cosmetic industry loves is the moisturizing or emollient properties - outstanding at smoothing and softening the skin and lips. In cosmetics the term "emollient" is the term used for the ingredient and the term "moisturizer" is used for the finished product.

Interesting fact cocoa butter contains only trace amounts of caffeine. It is the cocoa solids that have caffeine.

Cocoa solids contain both caffeine and "theobromine". Theobromine is the primary alkaloid found in cocoa and chocolate.

"Alkaloids are a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds which mostly contain basicnitrogen atoms...." Alkaloids are produced by a large variety of organisms, including bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals and are part of the group of natural products (also called secondary metabolites)... Many alkaloids are toxic to other organisms. They often have pharmacological effects and are used as medications, as recreational drugs, or in entheogenic rituals. Examples are the local anestheticstimulant cocaine, the stimulant caffeine, nicotine, the analgesic morphine, or the antimalarial drug quinine. Although alkaloids act on a diversity of metabolic systems in humans and other animals, they almost uniformly invoke a bitter taste.[1] "

Labeling a Concer - Cocoa Solids and Cocoa Butter

Most manufacturers provide the percentage of chocolate in a finished chocolate confection as a label quoting percentage of "cocoa" or "cacao".

This simply refers to the combined percentage of both cocoa solids and cocoa butter in the bar, not just the percentage of cocoa solids.  So 70% "cocoa" may not really indicate  70% cocoa solids, it is more than likely 70% cocoa solids and cocoa butter.

Largest Producer of Cocao - Republic of Côte d'Ivoire

The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire commonly known in English as Ivory Coast,is a country in West Africa. It borders the countries of Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population was estimated to be 20,617,068 in 2009.

A little bit about the culture of this country - 77% of the population are said to be considered "Ivoirians". An estimated 65 languages are spoken in this country. One of the most common languages is Dyula, which is the main language for commerce and trade and a common language among the Muslim population. French is the official language, is taught in schools.

"Life expectancy at birth was 41 for males in 2004, for females it was 47. Infant mortality was 118 of 1000 live births. There are 12 physicians per 100,000 people. About a quarter of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.[1]"

Côte d'Ivoire - Ivory Coast of Africa
Côte d'Ivoire - Ivory Coast of Africa | Source

Côte d'Ivoire - Ivory Coast of Africa

Côte d'Ivoire:
Côte d'Ivoire

get directions

Chocolate Industry - Ruled by Oligopoly

The chocolate industry is a $50 billion dollar-a-year industry said to be ruled by an oligopoly which has been named Big Chocolate. The Big Chocolate is ruled by chocolate manufacturers in Europe and the U.S. such as Mars and Hershey's which dominate sales estimated over $13 billion a year just for these two companies. The name "Big Chocolate" parallels the other industries ruled or owned by a rare few firms such as "Big Oil" and "Big Tobacco". Wikipedia reports chocolate is loved in five out of seven continents - which two are not included was not detailed.

Lindt and Sprungli - 4 STARS Made in USA!

My favorite is the dark chocolate with the sea salt.

The packaging states Manufactured by Lindt and Sprungli (USA) Inc. Stratham, NY 03885

"Lindt & Sprüngli has six factories located in Kilchberg, Switzerland; Aachen, Germany; Oloron-Sainte-Marie, France; Induno Olona, Italy; Gloggnitz, Austria; and Stratham, New Hampshire in the United States."

Lindt details their quality assurance hails from Kilchberg/Switzerland.

Green and Black - Made in Canada - 4 Stars Distributed in the USA

I love this chocolate and I love the organics. Distributed by Green and Black's, Parsippany, NJ, Made in Canada.

Ghirardelli - 4 STARS Made in the USA

"As America's longest continuously operating chocolate manufacturer, Ghirardelli has established its position as America's premium chocolate company for more than 150 years.

We are one of very few American manufacturers that make chocolate starting from the cocoa bean through to finished products. Throughout the process, we take special steps to ensure that our premium chocolate delivers our signature intense, smooth-melting chocolate taste." source:

Wikipedia information:  "The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is a United States division of Swiss candymaker Lindt & Sprüngli. The company was founded by and is named after Italian chocolatier Domingo Ghirardelli, who, after working in South America, moved to California. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company was incorporated in 1852, and is the second-oldest chocolate company in the United States, after Baker's Chocolate."[1]

"I just got an email from the customer service people at Ghiradelli. They confirmed that all their chocolate is "made and manufactured in San Leandro, California" (USA). In a time when Hershey and others are starting factories overseas, it is nice to see one of the original chocolate- giant immigrants (Domenico Ghiradelli) is still loyal to the US!" source:

Newman's Own Organics - 5 Stars - Proudly Made in the USA


Newman’s Own Organics was established as a division of Newman’s Own in 1993, and became a separate company in late 2001. Paul Newman has given over $200 million to thousands of charities worldwide since 1982. It continues to run as the second generation. It has expanded its product base. Sadly not all products are carried at Wal-Mart. Specialty stores carry the delicious dark chocolate. Yes, it is more expensive but it is like Starbucks, you are paying for the quality, you are paying for the American headquarters, you are paying for the integrity of the food chain.


Russell Stover - 5 Stars Made in the USA

Russell Stover Candies, Inc. is the candy I grew up with when I was a child. Russell Stover is a supplier of candy, chocolate, and confections in the United States. They are headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri.

Started in 1921, with an Iowa school teacher who created the Eskimo pie - the much loved ice cream dipped in chocolate.

In 1969 the Ward family purchased the company. Russell Stover is third in boxed candy after Mars and Hershey's of course.

The most distinctive of all Russell Stover's creations was not just the Eskimo Pie, it was the famous heart shaped candy box that is every girl's dream at Valentine's Day.

Child Labor in Chocolate

Screening of "The Dark Side of Chocolate"

Events starts: October 26, 2010 – 6:00 pm
Event ends: October 26, 2010 – 8:00 pm Location: Busboys and Poets, 5th & K St. NW, Washington, DC

Filmmakers Miki Mistrati and U. Robin Romano traveled to cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast and what they found was dark. Few improvements have been made on the ground and egregious labor rights abuses continue, years after major chocolate companies committed to ending this exploitation.

Take Aways That We Learned


1. Chocolate can easily be mislabeled with both the amount of the cocoa and the amount of the cocoa butter - better labeling practices are needed


2. Chocolate is manufactured here in the US. Although the material may be imported, there exists American workers in factories creating chocolate for us.


3. Chocolate is controlled by an oligopoly with very few owners holding the power for new changes in labeling.

Giants in other industries have lead the way for better working conditions in Africa.  The Big Chocolate and the super grocery stores can step up to the plate and make the world a better place. 


4. Child labor overseas for chocolate sadly may be an issue. Again the power remains in the hands of a few - they hold the key to demanding change - global change for the world.

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Reclaim American Jobs - Buy American Made

Reclaim American jobs - buy American.

Start a citizen's alert, create jobs for Americans - buy American - Celebrate Made in USA!

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    • American_Choices profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from USA

      B. Leekley

      Thank you so much for contributing. It means allot. You are right, we must not judge all as bad but I grew up thinking chocolate was American as apple pie and yet it is an international commodity.

      It is sad how we gravitate to the foreign when our neighbors need jobs.

      I look forward to re-visiting your hubs. Always enjoy your work. Thank you!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Up, Useful, Interesting, and shared with followers and on social networking sites. My hunch is that African chocolate makers are not all all bad and that American chocolate makers are not all all good, but even so, there are lots of good reasons to most often opt for American, preferably locally, made. I have added this hub to a links capsule in my How to Host a Poetry Night Party with a Wines and Chocolates Potluck hub.

    • American_Choices profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from USA


      I love diversity in every form but I value knowledge. Shopping with full knowledge of what the options are - not just for price but also for the retention and creation of American jobs is important in my buying choices.

      When shopping at an elite retailer, I was surprised they had a customer also ask about American made goods.

      We will pay more on occasion but it MUST always have quality associated with the good and a good value.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Excellent hub! Consumers need more information about where their product comes from and the costs associated with bringing it to the market.

      I love Russell Stovers too and Ghirardelli, too!


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