Well …. Not just any chocolate.

Better World Shopping Guide is a book that rates companies for many products including chocolate companies. It rates them based on environmental impact, human rights, social justice, and animal protection. It has been determined that how chocolate is grown and processed has a huge impact on these issues. The kind of chocolate you buy is in the top 10 things to pay attention to because how you spend your dollars on it makes a big difference in the world.

UNICEF and the US State Department have determined up to 40% of all chocolate is produced with child slave labor. More children have to go work on the chocolate farms as young as 10 because their parents aren’t paid enough to feed them. Some chocolate is cheap for this reason.

Chocolate is a shade crop and grows in the understory of tropical forests. The tropical forests are home to many animals and birds. Lots of birds in Wisconsin winter in Central and South America among the chocolate plantation trees. Unless ….. it’s a big multinational chocolate company that cuts down the taller trees. Our birds are disappearing because this is happening. It also means more global warming as we lose the “lungs” of our planet.

Questions to consider as you buy chocolate:

  1. Is it Fair Trade? This indicates the farmers are paid enough to support their families. Children aren’t in the chocolate fields but in school.
  2. Is sustainable? This indicates that chocolate is grown in a way that supports the earth and creatures in tropical forests. Tall trees aren’t cut down. The rain forest is part of the support system for the chocolate then, as it should be.
    Companies like Nestles, Dove, Hershey, and Cadbury are damaging our world and the creatures in our world.Companies like Equal Exchange, Theo, Endangered Species, Sunspire, Tony’s Chocoloney, and Divine are helping our world. AND THEY TASTE GREAT! Local chocolate shops are also a good choice. Check out Tabal on Harwood Ave. in Wauwatosa. They actually roast and grind the cocoa beans on site. It’s so interesting.
  3. Quality chocolate should not have corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, or palm oil as ingredients.
  4. Quality chocolate should have:
    Look for chocolate liquor which is the entire cocoa bean. It provides both the flavanols that can provide health benefits, lots of chocolate flavor, and the fat for a smooth mouth feel and texture. Better quality chocolate usually contains chocolate liquor.
    Look for cocoa which is the solid part of the cocoa bean. This contains flavanols and chocolate flavor.
    Look for cocoa butter which is the fat from the cocoa bean. It provides a smooth mouth feel and melts. It is often replaced by hydrogenated fats or palm oil in chocolate of lesser quality.

Enjoy World Chocolate Day with a Fair Trade, sustainable chocolate candy!!
It tastes great and can have a positive impact on our world.

Julie Toman

Julie is a UUCW member and teaches an assortment of classes for local Recreation Departments and for Allo Chocolate, a store in Waukesha. Contact Julie if you have any questions.