All About Chocolate


Behind every luscious chocolate bar and treat we devour throughout the year, there are six million people globally who depend on growing cocoa for their livelihoods.

Cacao grows in a thin Equatorial band in places ranging from Hawaii to Papua New Guinea. The ideal climate for growing cocoa is hot, rainy, and tropical, with lush vegetation to provide shade for the cocoa trees. Over 60 percent of cacao, however, is grown in Ivory Coast and Ghana, cultivated by mostly smallholder farmers who grow the crop on plots of land averaging less than 5 hectares (12 acres) in size. Meet cocoa farmers in Côte d'Ivoire to find out more.

Although demand has been high, the price of cocoa beans has fallen in recent years. On average, cocoa-growing households earn $0.78 a day, less than one third of what the Fairtrade International defines as a living income of $2.51. Poverty, and its many related issues,is the key challenge faced by cocoa growing communities. Poverty is the chief cause of child labour According to the 2018 Cocoa Barometer, a report by 15 European non-profit organizations, as many as 2.1 million child labourers are working in West Africa alone. Watch The Dark Side of Chocolate to learn more.

“Until we address the poverty issue and raise farmers out of poverty, then this will continue to be a problem,” says Timothy McCoy, vice president of the World Cocoa Foundation, an industry-backed membership body.

 According to the International Cocoa Organization, the world’s chocolate factory is the United States, headed by companies such as Mars, Incorporated (manufacturers of favorites including M&M’s, Snickers, and Dove); Mondelēz International (makers of Cadbury and Toblerone); and the Hershey Company (kiss, kiss). Look at the Chocolate Scorecard to see if your favorite brand’s commitment to sustainability and eliminating child labor.

 Fairtrade works to make cocoa farming a more sustainable way to earn a living so that farmers can better support themselves and their families.

With Fairtrade sales, farmer cooperatives receive the Fairtrade Premium which they spend on improving quality and productivity of their farms, to increase incomes. Fairtrade is contributing to greater sustainability for cocoa farming in countries like Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire through payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and extra Fairtrade Premium.

See the Shopping List to see where you can buy Fair Trade Chocolate in Mankato. Around the country, here are brands to look for: 

FT Chocolate


Alter Eco Foods

Divine Chocolate

Endangered Species Chocolate

Equal Exchange

Theo Chocolate