Dark Side of the Chocolate Industry
Home » Education  »  Dark Side of the Chocolate Industry
Dark Side of the Chocolate Industry

Chocolate has a long and rich history that spans thousands of years. The origins of chocolate can be traced back to ancient Mesoamerican cultures, where the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao) is native. The Olmec civilization, one of the earliest Mesoamerican cultures, is believed to have been the first to cultivate and use cacao around 1500 BCE.

The Maya civilization, which succeeded the Olmecs, further developed the use of cacao. Maya writings and artifacts suggest that they consumed a beverage made from crushed cacao beans mixed with water, chili peppers, and other ingredients. This frothy, bitter beverage was consumed for ceremonial and medicinal purposes.

The Aztecs, who later inhabited the region, also adopted cacao into their culture. They called the beverage "xocolātl," which is believed to be the origin of the word "chocolate." The Aztecs sweetened the bitter cacao drink with honey and flavored it with vanilla and annatto.

It was during the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 16th century that chocolate was introduced to Europe. Spanish explorers, including Hernán Cortés, encountered the Aztec chocolate beverage and brought cacao beans back to Spain. Initially, chocolate was consumed as a beverage, and sugar was added to sweeten it.

Over time, chocolate-making techniques evolved, and by the 18th century, solid chocolate became popular in the form of bars and treats. The invention of the conching machine by Rodolphe Lindt in the 19th century played a crucial role in refining the texture and taste of chocolate, making it smoother and more enjoyable.

Milk chocolate, which includes milk powder or condensed milk, was also developed in the 19th century, adding a creamy and sweeter dimension to chocolate.

In the 20th century, various innovations in chocolate production, including the introduction of mass production techniques and the development of different types of chocolate products, contributed to the widespread availability and popularity of chocolate as we know it today.

What is the dark side of the cocoa industry?

According to the International Labour Organisation, nearly 2 million children in West Africa alone work in the cocoa business, where they are frequently exposed to harmful chemicals, forced to work long hours, and denied an education. Furthermore, many cocoa producers do not have access to education, healthcare, or safe water.

  1. Child Labor and Exploitation:
    • West African Cocoa Production: The majority of the world's cocoa is produced in West African countries like Ivory Coast and Ghana, where child labor and exploitation are prevalent. Children, often from impoverished families, are involved in hazardous work on cocoa farms, subjected to long hours, low pay, and dangerous conditions.
  2. Forced Labor and Trafficking:
    • Human Trafficking: In some cases, there are reports of human trafficking for labor purposes in the cocoa industry. Workers, including children, are sometimes forced to work on cocoa farms against their will.
  3. Low Wages for Farmers:
    • Unfair Prices: Many cocoa farmers receive low prices for their produce, making it challenging for them to earn a decent living. Middlemen and traders often take a significant share of the profits, leaving farmers in poverty.
  4. Environmental Impact:
    • Deforestation: The demand for cocoa has led to extensive deforestation in some regions, as forests are cleared to make way for cocoa plantations. This has detrimental effects on biodiversity, contributes to climate change, and can lead to soil degradation.
  5. Ethical Sourcing and Certification Challenges:
    • Certification Issues: While there are certification programs like Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance aiming to address these issues, they are not without their challenges. Some argue that these certifications may not be as effective in ensuring fair wages and ethical practices as intended.
  6. Corporate Responsibility:
    • Supply Chain Transparency: The complex and often opaque supply chains in the chocolate industry make it difficult to trace the origin of cocoa beans. Lack of transparency can contribute to unethical practices going unnoticed or unaddressed.
  7. Efforts towards Change:
    • Initiatives and Awareness: In recent years, there has been increased awareness about these issues, leading to various initiatives by governments, NGOs, and chocolate industry stakeholders to address child labor, improve working conditions, and promote sustainable farming practices.

What is the dark story behind chocolate?

Cocoa accounts for more than half of the GDP in several African countries. Exploitation remains common in the cocoa sector. Human rights violations, structural poverty, low pay, forced employment, and child labour are all ongoing challenges. Slavery persists in the chocolate industry even centuries after it was abolished.

Why do people eat 100% dark chocolate?

Eating dark chocolate with a high cocoa content in moderation can provide antioxidants and minerals, thereby protecting you from heart disease. But it may also be high in sugar and calories.

What was the main ethical issue in the chocolate industry?

Child Labour and Forced Labour

Because of the high demand for inexpensive cocoa, producers are frequently forced to use youngsters in order to maintain competitive prices. Cocoa growers make less than $2 per day on average, which is well below the poverty level.

How bad is chocolate for the environment?

The global warming potential (GWP) of chocolate ranges between 2.9 and 4.2 kg CO2 eq./kg. A kilogramme of chocolate requires 10,000 litres of water. Cacao production raises total GWP by three to four times due to land-use changes related with agriculture.

Is chocolate harmful for human?

Additionally, chocolate is high in sugar and saturated fat. It is a high-energy (high-calorie) food that, if consumed in excess, can lead to obesity, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Beans, lentils, fruits, and vegetables are all good sources of polyphenols.

What are the future challenges of chocolate production?

Challenges of Cocoa Production
Deforestation. Cocoa cultivation contributes significantly to deforestation and the subsequent loss of biodiversity, notably in West Africa.
Climate-change sensitivity.
Use of chemical fertilisers.
Cacao cultivation is attractive.
Child labour.

Infymor Event Organizer And Planner | Andhra | Telangana

Find all the latest and popular news, videos, viral videos, viral images, Facebook videos, and other social media content. on Viral Eyes Telegram Channel Click here to Join

Top Social Media Groups for Business, Professional Networking, Promotions, Jobs Click here