I’ve never liked milk chocolate; it’s too sweet, too rich, and I often find myself wishing that it was more bitter, a little saltier, mixed with caramel, or a different food entirely. Preferences differ widely; everyone has foods that if possible, they’d steer clear of without exception. Until recently, I hadn’t thought twice about my preference for dark chocolate, it was just personal fact. In reality, this preference had developed because I had been exposed to chocolate as a byproduct of my country of citizenship, cultural heritage, familial attitudes, and socio-economic opportunities. The fact is, the majority of people lack adequate access to a wide variety of food types – as well as the means to choose between multiple food options – instead forced to consume what’s affordable and available as a result of the level of development of the country in which they reside.
As specified by Clapp, “the current global food system relies heavily on the transnational movement of food” – often an uneven enterprise. Although subsidies are typically enacted to protect domestic agriculture, they often “distort international markets” through agricultural trade protectionism. As a result, “the ongoing imbalance in global trade rules and associated practices has continued to work against the interest of small-scale farmers in developing nations,” like in the situation of the Ivory Coast; primarily responsible for the production of raw cocoa (Clapp).
The bitter, earthy taste and chalky texture of raw cocoa contrasts sharply with the rich taste and smooth, creamy texture of chocolate. The lifelong producers of raw cocoa within Africa profit inadequately relative to the importance of their involvement in the global industrialization of chocolate production. Those who produce cocoa in its raw form have little understanding of what happens to it after it is sold, as a commodity too expensive to purchase in Africa.