A Better Chocolate for a Sweeter World

A Better Chocolate for a Sweeter World

Crunchy, creamy, nutty, nougat, salty, or stirred through coffee.

No matter your preference, there is one thing we can all agree on - we love chocolate. The aroma alone can transport us back to moments of nostalgia, celebration, and joy, which makes it all the more bitter to discover chocolate’s dark side. 

The truth is that today’s chocolate industry is entangled with practices that harm our planet, communities, and wildlife, as well as hide exploitation like forced labor, human trafficking, and
child labor.1 What’s promising though, is that gradually with new technology innovations, meaningful collaboration, government backing, and public pressure the tide is turning.

Where does chocolate come from?

Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, which come from the fruit of the cacao tree. These beans are then processed into cocoa, the key ingredient for chocolate. Cocoa is produced in tropical countries that get a lot of rainfall, often on small family farms. Over half of all the world’s cocoa beans are produced in the west African nations of Côte d'Ivoire and its neighbor, Ghana, followed by Ecuador in third place.2

Over 50% of all cocoa is produced by Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana

Cocoa farmers often sell their beans through cooperatives, and the cocoa moves through different processing stages before being transformed into the bars we purchase and enjoy. The beans are transported – often being ground, processed and turned into cocoa butter, liquor or powder and then chocolate bars or confectionary in other countries. European countries are the largest manufacturers of chocolate.3

The United States is the world’s largest importer of cocoa products, over $6 Billion in 2022, with over 10% of the market share by value. 

The US imports many finished cocoa and chocolate products from Europe, but their ultimate origins arelargely Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Ecuador.4

Credit: Jean Claude Koya