My Story, Yours Too.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Good Chocolate, Bad Chocolate, Evil Hershey's, Part II

continued from Part I:

Don’t fret. There are plenty of choices, though these choices are not your usual, easy to grab candies found at North American convenience stores.

The most assuredly exploitation-free chocolate carries a Fair Trade Label. This international monitoring system guarantees a minimum price for farmers, prohibits forced and abusive labor, and promotes environmental sustainability. We do pay more for this chocolate, but the excess dollars go directly into the development of community resources, such as schools and hospitals.

Cadbury Canada is a front-runner in the fair trade movement. Fair trade cocoa originates from Belize, Bolivia, Cameroon, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Nicaragua, and Peru. [To find out cocoa’s source, simply look at the back label. Fair Trade Certified products contain the label shown above.]
A second option is organic chocolate (e.g., Newman’s Organics). This is also a fairly safe choice, as organic farms have their own systems of independent monitoring that checks labor practices. Plus, cocoa beans are not grown organically in the Ivory Coast.

There’s a lot of guesstimating in this area. Here's my best effort, though, to delineate some of the “good” vs the “bad.” On the good team, I included companies that have moved toward enlightenment; they've begun socially conscious efforts.

Note also that there's  plenty of slavery-free chocolate, too, that is neither Fair Trade Certified nor organic. When in doubt, avoid Hershey’s (or just don’t keep giving them your dollars), and enjoy!

Good Chocolate: Ben & Jerry's, Starbuck's, Ah!laska, Endangered Species, Ithaca, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Newman's Organics, Clif Bar, Guittard, Green and Black's, Mayordomo/Mexican chocolate, European chocolate, Nirvana, Rapunzel, smaller mom & pop brands, and lots more.

? Unclear - info is mixed: Nestle, Godiva (sorry Sarah!), lots more.

Bad Chocolate = Hershey's and any chocolate from West Africa's Ivory Coast, Mars/M&M's, Dove, Dagoba (taken over by Hershey's, though they do have 1 fair trade chocolate bar), Scharffen Berger (also taken over by Hershey's).

Finally, and thank you for sticking with me through all of this, here are some folks fighting the good fight, and my sources of this information:
Fair Trade Labeling Organization
Fair Trade Candy Blog
International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements


  1. I have never thought of who picked the cocoa beans when buying chocolate! Very interesting! Thanks for sharing this info!

  2. All this info made me hungry for some Chocolate. It also made me sad of the news of the bad chocolates that I eat :(

    Thanks for the heads-up!

    You're the best, Robyn :)

  3. Cadbury rocks!! Truly - Canadian chocolate has it SO OVER U.S. chocolate. Not even kidding. When I go back home, I buy chocolate because it's that much better. :)

    Man, I'm kinda sad about Dove, though. :(

  4. Thanks Robyn for educating me on Fair Trade. Now I can make an informed decision on what kind of products to buy.~Ames

  5. Now I have to try some Cadbury. Where do I get them? Online maybe?

  6. Cadbury?!? Yay! I love Cadbury chocolate. Now I won't feel so guilty :0)

    Lot's of good info here.

  7. Cadbury is the best anyway. The other companies have got to change things and right these wrongs.

  8. this info re who gets this cocoa picked is sad.alot of this info. is withheld from us. makes use to have to make a decision re how to not support this action. rose

  9. Holy Crap - when you say you know your chocolate, you KNOW your chocolate. I bet you can taste it and tell which field it came from in the world. I am truly impressed. Forget what I said about settling with Mr. PHD - you are a rare gem kitty kat.

  10. Beth, I didn't think about that stuff either, until I learned recently about these evils. Thanks. xo

    Blase, writing this made me hungry for chocolate. Then again, everything does. You're pretty good yourself. ;0)

    Mar, Canada has it SO OVER the US in almost every way - except, perhaps, the weather. xo

    Ames, thanks. I'm glad it helps. xo

    Sarah, yes, good point. Searching for good chocolate on-line is probably the best way to go. Thanks. [-:

    Marnie, yay. No guilt. Three cheers for Cadbury Canada! xo

    TS, definitely. They've gotta stop these evils. Hershey's needs to take a fiscal hit -or fear one. Thanks. ;>}

    Rose, yes. It's sad and slimey. I'm glad there are some good organizations and people fighting for what's right. xo

    Kal, actually, I didn't know any of this until about a month ago. After I stopped crying, I started researching for this blog piece. Thanks, big hunk. FYI, the Big Hunk bar is GOOD chocolate - it's produced by a small (and non-Hershey's) company (Annabelle's maybe?). xo

  11. I always preferred Nestle to Hershey, even when I LIVED in Hershey. But now that I know Nestle is in the iffy category, I may just stop eating chocolate all together.

    Wow Robyn, you really do know a lot about chocolate. It's not just lip service with you.

  12. I will NOT be buying Hersheys again unless this is changed and everyone I know will hear about this. Thanks Robyn!