Mindless Enjoyment: Chocolate

      2 Comments on Mindless Enjoyment: Chocolate

What do you do to relax or treat yourself after a long day? Perhaps you take a moment and revel in the luxury of chocolate. After all, studies have shown that chocolate has health benefits, among other things it is high in antioxidants and heart healthy. What is the harm in taking respite and mindlessly enjoying a piece of chocolate? Many would argue that there is no harm, it is delicious and healthy. While chocolate is delicious and healthy it can be harmful. Cocoa farmers employ hundreds of thousands of children, some of whom are miles away from their families who they haven’t seen in years. Knowing this makes it a bit harder to mindlessly revel in that piece of chocolate after a long day. Imagine the little hands cracking open the fruit of the cocoa with a machete in order to provide the chocolate you are enjoying. Does it give you pause? Now imagine a situation not quite as jarring, the cocoa farmer who barely scrapes by gets to taste chocolate for the first time in his life, his face lights up with joy and he wants to share with his friends who have also not had the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labors. While we all enjoy the sugary treat of chocolate rarely do we appreciate the hard work that provided it. It may seem like a treat you have always enjoyed is being taken away from you with this knowledge, it is hard to enjoy something when you know others are hurt so you can have it. Not all hope is lost, when shopping for chocolate look for the Fair Trade logo. Fair Trade works to make sure that workers are safe and adequately compensated. It is possible to enjoy a harmless piece of chocolate, it is not possible to do so mindlessly.

See the source image

“Child Labor in Cocoa.” Fortune, fortune.com/big-chocolate-child-labor/.

“Fair Trade.” Fair Trade Certified, www.fairtradecertified.org/.

2 thoughts on “Mindless Enjoyment: Chocolate

  1. ngd2

    I really enjoyed that video where the cocoa farmer tastes chocolate for the first time and I agree that Fair Trade would be beneficial to the farmers. One brand of chocolate I enjoy periodically is Godiva chocolate. On their website they tout other social and environmental benefits, but Free Trade is not mentioned. For example they say they are members of the World Cocoa Foundation, a non-profit that promotes sustainability, and the Cocoa Horizons Foundation, which “seeks to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities through the promotion of sustainable, entrepreneurial farming, improved productivity, and community development.” Is Godiva’s participation in these programs worse, on-par, or better than Fair Trade? I don’t know the answer but I wanted to bring attention to some of the confusion that the average consumer faces when they try to make informed purchasing decisions. Companies will try to paint their supply chain in the best light possible so it’s up to the consumer to do ever more research.


  2. jmalle25

    Excellent post Lauren!

    You have definitely touched on a significant issue within global food systems via this example. Such is the case as slavery and forced labor are common practices in many regions where cocoa is harvested. Additionally, many major companies such as Nestle are aware of these practices but do little to use their influence to better the situation as well as continuing to profit from it. It is clear that many commodities that makeup the world food system have similar skeletons in their closet. That being said you did a great job of explaining the positive impacts the Fair trade movement and its associated policies have had on many workers in developing nations. Another facet of research you could look into is the many criticisms of the Fair trade system, in order to better understand how it could improve its operations to maximize benefit for all. Some of these issues include oversupply of certifications as well as potential to unfairly create inequalities in certain markets.

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