In the past few months, chocolate sales have soared (alongside crumpets and gravy) as we’ve all strived to glean some form of comfort in these times of uncertainty.
As one of life’s little luxuries, it’s hard to imagine that those shiny wrappers might be hiding some fairly dark industry secrets.
With the chocolate supply chain (ie. what happens between cocoa being grown, and it then appearing in bar form on our supermarket shelves) currently being dominated by a handful of chocolate giants, the price of cocoa is often pushed down to such a point that cocoa farmers are forced to live in poverty, which in turn creates issues relating to child labour and slavery.
As consumers, it is easy for this behind-the-scenes issue to elude, but thanks to the work of one particular pioneering chocolate company, Tony's Chocolonely, this matter of inequality in the chocolate industry is increasingly being brought to our attention.
The situation is extremely complex, but the company have a roadmap which points the way towards a more ethical future for this industry... which has to be a start! Until the inequality is resolved, they have committed to maintain the often-questioned randomness to their chocolate squares!
Besides paying cocoa farmers a higher price for their cocoa, Tony's Chocolonely invest in long-term partnerships with farmer cooperatives and help them professionalize and improve productivity on their farms.
For the cocoa farmers that they work with, the Coronavirus has inevitably been a real threat, and during this time Tonys Chocolonely have been paying the cooperatives an additional premium, partly to be spent on measures to fight the virus.
Although the impact of Coronavirus on cocoa-producing countries is not yet clear, as consumers, we can still do our bit to help by choosing products with traceable beans, purchased directly from farmers, who are getting paid a fair price!
Tonys have more details of other supportive actions you can take on their website.