The dark side of Chocolate

I LOVE CHOCOLATE. It is so good. Celebrating? Chocolate. Sad? Chocolate. Stressed? Chocolate. Unwinding in a bath? Chocolate. This weekend marks Easter Sunday, which for some reason we decide to eat loads of chocolate. I don’t know who started this tradition, but I am all for it. Whilst we are all munching on our various chocolate shaped things, it is worth considering that some chocolate can leave a not so sweet taste in your mouth.

It’s not always Fair trade

Fair trade chocolate means that farmers get a decent price for their products, rather than being ripped off by large companies hoping to keep production costs low. It drastically improves the quality of the farmers lives and the lives of their families too. One of my favourite fair trade chocolate bars is by Divine:

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Divine Chocolate is both delicious and fair trade. Photo Credit: St Martins House

There’s loads of other options like:

  • Dairy Milk (bars and buttons).
  • Kit-Kat
  • Co-op own brand
  • Maltesers
  • Green and Blacks

However, not all chocolate bars use fair trade chocolate. You have to look for the little fair trade logo on the packaging in order to know if it is or isn’t. In this day and age there really is no excuse for companies not to pay all their workers a fair wage.

dairy-milk-fair-trade
Look out for that important little logo. Photo Credit: ChocolateMilkRecipe

And companies can trick you into thinking their product is Fair trade when it isn’t!

For example, if you buy a bar of Cadbury’s dairy milk, then that is fairtrade. But a Cadbury’s caramel doesn’t use the same chocolate and isn’t faritrade.

Palm Oil

You’ve probably heard loads about palm oil. Its cheap and in high demand, which means lots of trees get cut down in order to grow African oil palm trees, to make this high demand product. You might think whats the issue? It’s all trees isn’t it? Surely that’s not so bad? But sadly it reduces species diversity, destroys habitats and leads to other species (plant and animal) becoming endangered. The problem with palm oil is summed up by one website:

“The industry is linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced, as the land and forests must be cleared for the development of the oil palm plantations. According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production. This large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction, and findings show that if nothing changes species like the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years, and Sumatran tigers less than 3 years.” (Say No To Palm Oil, 2017)

 

Sadly, most of our beloved chocolate contains palm oil, with recent revelations revealing that Nutella is packed full of the stuff. Some companies (like Mars) however, use certified palm oil, which is source a bit more sustainably.

If you want to avoid it altogether, I’ve put a few suggestions of palm oil free chocolate (according to the orangutan project) you can tuck into this Easter:

  • Lindt gold bunnies
  • Cadbury Mini Eggs
  • Cadbury buttons egg
  • Anything toblerone
  • Guylian chocolate eggs

 

Packaging

Most chocolate wrappers are made of plastic, which sadly isn’t recyclable. Easter eggs often come in a cardboard box- which you can recycle, but then you have the foil and plastic inside! Lindt gold bunnies come in relatively minimal waste packaging- the foil scrunches up quite small and the bells can be reused for Christmas present decorations (top tip there). High end chocolatiers will probably be able to sell you a naked egg if you are determined to ditch the packaging, but it will certainly set you back more than the 2 for £8 eggs in your local supermarkets!

My advice would be to recycle where you can and try and be creative about reusing some of the packaging if possible!

 

Happy Easter everyone

xoxo

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