It’s devoured at Easter. It can say thank you, happy birthday, sorry. It can be a simple moment of deliciousness to ourselves. People’s love of chocolate is an age-old one, but what you might not know is that the chocolate industry is actually a bit of a sketchy one. New to the NZ market comes the utterly delicious Tony's Chocolonely, huge blocks of chocolate in colourful wrapping in a variety of flavours. So far, so good.
However, the bars themselves aren't cut into handy pieces for fair and equitable sharing, oh no. You break up these babies however you can, and this represents how profits in the chocolate industry are so unequally divided. Tony's is also one of the few guaranteed slavery-free chocolate bars on the market. How can something that tastes so sweet be so utterly bitter you say? Well, did you know that whoever you think you're buying your chocolate from, chances are the origin of the cocoa beans were first handled by devastatingly poor, exploited and underage workers in Africa?
Some of the world’s largest chocolate manufacturers buy cocoa from plantations that use illegal child labour and modern slavery. Yuck. We dove head first into episode 5 of season 2 (Bitter Chocolate) of the series Rotten on Netflix, and boy was it sobering.
Opening with farmers who haven’t been paid for the cocoa they've sold in years, the episode explains that Africa is the source of most of the world’s cocoa regardless of who the discerning chocolate fan thinks they’re buying it from. Slashes in the price farmers get for the cocoa and an unwillingness to pay a living wage by the industry sees trafficked kids and deforestation to grow more crops as farmers are forced into poverty.
While it may all sound doom and gloom (the episode really is horrifying but a very worthy watch) there’s one brand here to change the game and ensure that you won’t be unable to eat chocolate for the rest of your life post-viewing. Tony’s Chocolonely exists to make chocolate 100% slavery free, and was founded by three journalists after they discovered the horrifying inequality present in the chocolate industry. Working with cocoa farmers in Ghana and on the Ivory Coast to create traceability between the beans and the final product, as well as paying a higher price, Tony’s Chocolonely is looking to address the underlying causes of slave labour.
Having grown to become the largest chocolate brand in the Netherlands, they’re aiming to set the wheels in motion for slavery free chocolate consumption in NZ and the world. Tony’s Chocolonely is devourable in six varieties: Milk chocolate 32%, Extra dark chocolate 70% (DF), Milk chocolate caramel sea salt 32%, Dark chocolate almond sea salt 51% (DF), Milk chocolate hazelnut 32% & White chocolate raspberry popping candy 28%.
So next time you're in need of a chocolate hit and you want to do your part for abolishing what we thought was a thing of the distant past, pick up a slab of Tony's Chocolonely from your local New World, leading independent retailers like Farro Fresh and online from Cook & Nelson. Together we can make a difference, are you in?
For more eye-opening sustainability content, find out how to avoid all-pervasive palm oil.
Image credit: Tony’s Chocolonely