The Future of Chocolate is Fairtrade

Chocolatiers around the world are facing a stark moment. One where the skyrocketing price of their main ingredient challenges the very existence of their business. The price of cacao beans has increased more than 170% in the last 12 months, with the majority of the increases happening in the last two months. The price per ton a year ago was $2,400.00 US while the current price is more than $9,000.00 US.

There are several factors that are contributing to the surge in prices. While worldwide demand for chocolate steadily increases, the world's two largest chocolate producing countries, Ghana and the Ivory Coast are experiencing a decline in production.

 While large confectionery companies can increase the sugar content of their candy bars or shrink the size of their retail offerings, artisanal chocolatiers do not have the same options. 

The reasons are that the loss of flavor of the product itself will no longer have this pronounced chocolate taste but also the loss of quality means the consumers may no longer appreciate the flavors present with the additional sugar.

Fair trade labels, such as Fairtrade Canada, have become increasingly popular and allow consumers to choose products that support sustainable practices. These labels ensure that cocoa farmers receive a minimum price for their products, as well as a premium to invest in their farms.

In addition, Fairtrade encourages sustainable farming practices by offering financial incentives, as mentioned above, so it helps reduce deforestation caused by cocoa production. For example, Fairtrade often encourages agroforestry, a practice that involves growing crops like cocoa under shade trees rather than clearing vast tracts of forest for planting. This approach helps conserve biodiversity and protect natural habitats.

It is important that the government and organizations support fair practices to address current challenges and improve the living conditions of cocoa farmers but also sellers.

As always with quality products, small retailers must adjust their prices upwards at the risk of losing customers in order to keep their business afloat.

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