I grew up in Seattle. I went to university in Seattle. I lived + worked in Seattle. Needless to say, this city will always hold a piece of my heart. One of my favorite discoveries during a weekend of adventuring was the Theo Chocolate factory. This giant brick building, neatly set near the waterfront canal in Fremont, gives visitors a small idea of how Charlie must have felt exploring the infamous chocolate factory. When given the opportunity to take a tour of where these decadent + creative chocolates are crafted, you can bet I gobbled up as many free samples as my tummy could hold!
As delicious and innocent as our classic milk, dark raspberry, or salted caramel treat may seem, the chocolate industry is not as beautiful as those cute, artistic labels make us think. Daily, humans are exploited because of the chocolate many of us consume regularly. Men, women, and children are forced via slave labor to work grueling hours harvesting cocoa beans for little to no pay. Other times, the chocolate we consume is sourced from farmers who are simply not compensated fairly on the global market for their product. Either scenario is an example of injustice.
Personally, I am perplexed at the lack of accountability, integrity, and ethical practices in the chocolate industry. Considering how much of the world regularly consumes classic brands such as Hershey’s and Nestle, you would think this area of exploitation wouldn’t be such a secret to the everyday consumer?
I am not here to make anyone feel guilty, as I have also consumed my fair share of unethical chocolate! What I want to do is give ethically sourced alternatives for your next Valentines Day, Halloween, Christmas, or movie night craving! My top reccomendation? Theo Chocolate is truly an incredible chocolate company who is impacting the cocoa industry for the better.
The Theo Chocolate pricing model is completely un-hinged from the fluctuating cocoa commodities market. The price that Theo pays for cocoa is tied directly to the quality of the beans and the price that our customers are willing to pay for our chocolate. This means that as quality improves, the price farmers receive increases, creating significant financial incentives to make investments to increase quality. All pricing is determined directly between Theo Chocolate and our suppliers, based on quality parameters for each harvest season. Under this model farmers know how much income to expect from their harvest, enabling them to make financial plans for the future (Read more about Theo Chocolate’s sourcing here!)
If you’re a chocolate lover, chocoholic, or simply a holiday consumer of that sweet goodness, then please: continue to consume…a little more ethically!