World Chocolate Week
Monday, 12 October 2020 | Joanna
Now I've got your attention, Monday 12 to Sunday 18 October is World Chocolate Week and All's Fair is celebrating with a promotion.
So you'll get a free chocolate bar with every order you place this week.
Spend up to £20 and get a 35g bar of Divine chocolate worth £1.10 - see them here.
Spend £20 to £50 and get an 85g bar of Seed and Bean worth £2.60 - see them here.
Spend £50 or over and get a 180g bar of Tonys Chocolonely worth £3.50 - see them here.
While we all love chocolate, and getting free stuff, the origins of most of the chocolate we eat come from a very similar urge in the UK's colonial past.
60% of the cocoa used in the chocolate we eat in the UK comes from just two countries - Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire. But chocolate - or rather its raw material cacao - is not native to West Africa, but originated in Honduras and Mexico. Used as a bitter, spiced drink by groups like the Aztecs and Olmecs, it was brought to Europe by the conquistadors and adulterated with sugar to make it palatable to the European palate. By the end of the 19th century when Quaker-run chocolate companies like Rowntrees, Cadbury and Fry's were employing thousands in model factories in Yorkshire and beyond, the demand for cheap chocolate had become almost insatiable.
So it must have seemed like a great plan when in 1821 the Gold Coast - now known as Ghana - became part of the British empire and later that century Cote d'Ivoire became a French colony and huge swathes of land became available for agriculture. With the ability to employ African workers under an existing forced labour system but now on an industrial scale, European powers started to plant cocoa palms and ramped up production. We can all make a profit if we don't have to pay our staff, but British consumers by and large turned a blind eye.
When independence came to Cote d'Ivoire in 1944 and Ghana in 1957 the rural economies of both countries were still dominated by cocoa and smallholder farmers continued to grow the crop and sell to traders who had better transport and contacts with the huge multinational corporations who still dominate the chocolate market. With cocoa a commodity traded on stock markets around the world, and with just one harvest a year (it's happening right now!) smallholder farmers were not really in control of their own destiny. They had to sell their crop at the price the big boys gave them, even if it meant they didn't make a profit that year. Even now the average cocoa farmer earns just 74p a day for all their hard work to grow the chocolate bars we love.
So when Fairtrade came along, helping to increase wages and improve working conditions for cocoa farmers was a priority. Organising into collectives and co-operatives like the 80,000 strong Kuapa Kokoo co-operative in Ghana which grows Divine chocolate's cocoa and the RICE network of co-operatives in Cote d'Ivoire who have been selling to Nestle on Fairtrade terms has given democratic control and power - a voice and a seat at the table for cocoa farmers.
This week we'll be telling you more about the three Fairtrade chocolate brands we work with and explaining why it's so important that we choose Fairtrade chocolate.