Green Chocolate - Social Success
Chocolate is big business; as far back as 2001, North Americans consumed an enormous 3 billion pounds of chocolate, costing a whopping $13 billion in sales revenue. Even with that enormous figure, the American public are not yet the world’s biggest consumers of chocolate products per capita, leaving that dubious award to the Swiss, who eat their way through an astonishing 22.5 pounds per person per year!
But because chocolate is such a huge market, and is farmed in bulk in several third-world countries, it is also noted for other, more dubious statistics. In 2010 1.8 million children aged 5 to 17 were forced labourers on cocoa farms across the Ivory Coast and Ghana. 40% of these children were not enrolled in school and only 5% of them were paid anything at all for the work that they undertook. UNICEF projects that as many as 35,000 of these children are victims of trafficking. Chocolate is big, but it also needs to be more socially acceptable.
In an effort to make chocolate a greater social success, many manufacturers are turning to ethical producers who not only pay their staff decent wages, but also contribute to the environment by tending to their growing stock properly. To promote this thinking, many chocolate producers now state the fact that they obtain their base product from carefully controlled sources, and with an increasingly environmentally-conscious market, it is those manufacturers who are reaping the benefits of increased sales.
Many of the major chocolate product manufacturers are now making much of the fact that they use UTZ certified cocoa products in their fare. This internationally recognised mark assures customers that the product is derived from responsibly sourced cocoa beans, and from only farms that have ethical work practices.
The responsible sourcing of the base product is only one of the latest, in the reimaging of chocolate, from an unhealthy fat-producing snack, to a product, that is both wholesome and healthy. This concept encompasses the quality of the both the beans and the final creation, turning it from a sugar laden un-healthiness into a treat that anyone can indulge in. By boosting the percentage of cocoa solids – and in doing so reducing the overall sugar content – chocolate becomes a snack of choice for the health conscious person. While making all chocolate of the superior 70% cocoa solids wouldn’t appeal to the whole market sector, there is a growing percentage who see that – or even higher – as an ideal and will gladly purchase it.