How was chocolate first consumed?
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Sorry, the correct answer was C. As an unsweetened drink

 

Chocolate was first used as an unsweetened drinkToday chocolate is consumed in many forms and we eat a lot of it. According to some estimates, the average person in the United States eats nearly 12 pounds of chocolate each year. And the US is not even a top consumer of chocolate worldwide. (Here’s a map of chocolate consumption statistics.)

This is a multi-billion dollar industry. Unfortunately much of the cacao grown today by small-scale farmers who struggle to earn a living wage and child labor is rampant, especially in West Africa.

In addition, the industry is noted for corporate consolidation and abuse. The ten most popular Halloween candies are all brands owned by either Hershey or Mars. Three other companies, Nestle, ADM, and Cargill, are currently being sued for aiding and abetting child slavery on cacao fields.

The good news is there are brands that work on a different model, one based on democracy, empowerment, long-term relationships, fair prices, and fair working conditions. As these fair brands grow, they are able to offer many more products to meet demand for all the ways we enjoy chocolate today including:

  • Check out our website to find a fair brand for your Halloween candy
  • Alter Eco now makes truffles in four different flavors in addition to their traditional chocolate bars
  • In addition to chocolate bars, caramels, and other options, Theo Chocolate recently introduced their new peanut butter cups.
  • In addition to drinking and eating chocolates, Equal Exchange serves the baker with baking cocoa and chocolate chips.

 

We’ve written before about the slow progress in cleaning up the industry and how not all “certified” cocoa is the same. We need to continue to fight for changes until all farmers get paid fairly and no child is forced to work in the fields. These pioneering brands have showed us this is possible.

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