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Buying Chocolate? Please choose Fair!
Give it some thought
Chocolate lovers listen up.
If you are about to buy and consume delicious chocolate, please stop and give some thought before you do and consider where your chocolate comes from and how it's produced.
A supporter of Oxfam International and Fair Trade practices can I encourage you to think outside the consummeristic (not sure if that is an actual word) push for excess and buy with consideration and thought when indulging in your next purchase for chocolate.
Believe me it matters. Before you make your next purchase
Consider these chocolate stats;
- On average in the week before Easter approximately 500 million dollars is spent on confectionery globally. 70% of that is spent on chocolate.
- Some reports indicate that the global chocolate market which in 2010 was estimated to be around $83.2 billion dollars will continue to increase exponentially to a staggering $93.3 billion by 2016.
- 40 - 50 million people in the chocolate industry depend on the production of the cacao bean for their livelihood.
- Approximately 200,000 children are reported to work in slave labor conditions in the fields of the cacao industry on the Ivory coast. One of the world's largest producers of chocolate.
These figures indicate that even if global consumers of chocolate bought even 10% of the Fair Trade global consumption it would make an unbelievable difference to the lives of many people and families living in abject poverty working for weekly wages that are less than or equivalent to the amount we in the western world would spend on our weekly caffeine fix.
Not only is fair trade chocolate some of the best chocolate that money can buy, but it is also;
- Made from the very finest quality organic cocoa.
- is free from harmful pesticides and chemicals
- There are no additional additives included
- Has only organic, unrefined cane juice used to sweeten the quality chocolate - this of course is better for your health and teeth and cane juice also contains the nutrients that would be extracted in refined sugar.
Consider the chocolate process
- Chocolate comes from the cacao tree, a small tropical tree native to Central and South America. However 70% of the worlds cacao is now produced in Africa.
- Harvest takes place in two seasons each year around May - October/ November
- One tree produces approximately two thousand pods per year.
- The seeds are encased in the hard pod shell
- The pod's flesh is a sweet white pulp which is the catalyst used in the essential flavor change.
- Workers use machetes to harvest the pods.
- The pods are opened by hand so as not to damage the seeds.
- The seeds are bitter and need to go through the process of fermentation.
- Fermentation is the process of changing the bitter flavor of the cacao bean by placing the seeds and the pulp under banana leaves. The sugars in the pulp of the seed cause fermentation to take place. With temperatures of up to 50c the beans are left for between 2-6 days. At the end of the process the asidic taste is removed and the process changes the bean into the chocolate taste that we are familiar with.
- Drying The seeds are left in the sun to dry for about a week or so.
- Roasting The beans are then roasted for 15-20minutes at 130c so that the husk is easier to remove.
- Cracking once the husk is cracked open the beans are removed
- Cocoa powder The beans are then shipped to a factory where they are ground into cocoa powder.
Consider Making a Fair purchase
A quick Google search will bring up where to source fair trade products. And organizations such as Oxfam, World Vision and any good health food store sell chocolate in store and online. So too do some supermarket chains.
Chocolate is a delectable commodity. One that we so often take for granted. Once we understand the necessary painstaking laborious process that is required to ensure that we as consumers are able to purchase this delicious and rather addictive global favorite commodity.
Isn't it a fair thing to make sure we buy a quality product for a fair price.