Buying guide for Candy products
Cocoa is a global commodity which is grown close to the equator in Africa, Asia and Central and South America. The most important impacts associated with cocoa cultivation include:
- Child and slave labor — Wide ranging human rights abuses and exploitation, including child trafficking and child and slave labor particularly in West Africa, are still a common problem in cocoa production.
- Traceability and fair pricing — Companies rarely purchase cocoa from farms directly. Cocoa is mostly grown on small family farms, which rely on a complex series of intermediaries to transport the crop to processors. Chocolate is also a multi-ingredient product containing cocoa components such as cocoa butter and cocoa solids as well as other components, all potentially coming from a variety of sources. Because product traceability is difficult, farmers often don’t have the ability to maximize their crop’s value, and commodity prices paid can be far lower than market value.
- Ecological impacts — Older crops produce less yield, resulting in farmers using additional pesticides to keep production high. Cocoa also grows best when under a protective shade canopy of a tropical forest.
- Health — With respect to the health benefits of chocolate, most products are made with sugar, milk, and several other additives - the dietary problems associated with the sugar and fat content of candies will compete with the potential health benefits of the anti-oxidants in cacao.
What to look for
Certifications ensure the chocolate has been produced under industry leading labor and environmental conditions.