Also, all the reasons why you should avoid cheap supermarket chocolates at all costs!
Hello chocolate lovers,
With us starting to work our magic for the most magical time of the year, I have decided to take a moment to pass some information that, hopefully, you will find handy and interesting.
Every year artisan chocolatiers like us, see the supermarket shelves packed with low cost chocolate products, like advent calendars for £1 or £2. Chocolate figurines for £2-3 and so on. I am not afraid to say that I find that disheartening. Selling chocolate that is such a low quality that is sometimes cheaper than the box itself. Do you think that's shocking? This is nothing yet...
Cocoa beans are farmed in various regions of the world, mainly in Africa, South America and India. The larger corporations buy their beans from Africa, where the labour is so cheap, that a farmer can get paid as little as $2 per day. For this reason, often farmers traffic young adults and kids as little as 5 years old, that get kidnapped from the families to be sold for $250 to work in the fields between 80 and 100 hours a week. As you can imagine there are no official datas, but it's thought that over 2 millions children are in slavery conditions, just between Ghana and Ivory Coast (which produce 43% of the world cocoa crop). There are no documented case of slavery in South American farms.. Is this shocking enough? Wait, there is more.
Please bare in mind that "organic" and "vegan" are not a representation of a slave free chocolate. The "Fair Trade" mark is a guaranteed of an ethical farming, from an economical point of view, where the farmers are paid fairly by the corporations, but also the farmers have to show proof of a fair treatments towards their employees. Acquiring the "Fair Trade" certifications costs thousand of dollars, and you may imagine this doesn't help to get more farmers certified.
Sadly cheap chocolate comes from cheap labour and, although this is not a guarantee, small artisans tend to have a serious love of chocolate and know this well enough to avoid buying chocolate that is not ethically produced.
We only use Fair Trade chocolate, because I cannot think of making something to put a smile on a child's face that is the result of another child's labour. I hope this makes sense and you will appreciate it.
Last but not least, please read the labels before buying. Trying not to mention names (but the one with the purple packaging... ) their cheap products, often the ones that are specifically for children, contain more sugar, milk and palm oil (yes, palm oil!!!) than actual cocoa (which is average 20%).
I have decided long time ago that I will use the same Belgian chocolate for the kids or for any other product. In comparison, our chocolate has double the cocoa content and 60% less fats. Also we DO NOT use palm oil or any other vegetable oil.
I understand many people this year might have less disposable income on the run up to Christmas, in these difficult time. My choice would be to chose quality over quantity and where possible to buy from local business. I know I will. Will you? Take a look at our Christmas shop. We already have a selection of products online