Chocolove has worked smartly and persistently for years to get cocoa sourcing right. We see that the love is put in early in the process.
Beginning in 1983, I worked as a volunteer overseas in various farmer development programs managed and funded by VOCA, USAID, ACDI, and Land O‘Lakes Cooperative. Yes, the same brand of delicious butter and dairy products is in fact a farmer’s coop that also helps farmers around the world. Even after starting Chocolove in 1995 I continued to volunteer.
So, when it comes to buying cocoa you might consider that many years of working with farmers in producing countries on spice, herb, and cocoa crops shapes our policy on buying cocoa. It absolutely does.
Chocolove specifies certified, fully traceable cocoa. Over 90% of the cocoa beans that we purchase and package are traceable to the farmer coop where they were grown. What this means is the cocoa in a Chocolove bar is the cocoa that is from certified farms. You might expect this to be a simple fact for all chocolate, but not so for some other companies. Certification on our wrapper means that the cocoa in the bar was made by people following the laws of the International Labor Organization and the rules of the Rainforest Alliance. While you might think the Rainforest Alliance only cares about the rainforest, they are in fact focused on people first as stewards of the land and forest.
When buying chocolate, we write contracts 2 to 3 years in advance of taking delivery. We must, to secure contracts with farmers to get their agreement in advance to grow the cocoa the Chocolove way. In order for the farmer to go through extra training, inspections, and comply with extra rules and record keeping, the farmer receives more money for their cocoa beans. We are happy to give them predictable revenue at a better rate. In addition to paying more for complying with labor rules and protecting the rainforest, we pay more for quality. Because we contract with the same farmers year after year, we get consistent taste and quality. The added benefit of agreeing in advance to pay more is that the farmers leave the beans on the tree a little longer and cure and sort them better, putting a little love in the cocoa from the start. This results in value built in at the farmer level and great consistent taste year after year.
As we celebrate our 25th year, we continue to strive to do more to do right by the farmer. We quietly and consistently do what is right because we believe that Chocolove’s connection to the farmer and to you is something you can taste and well-being you can feel. So, when you say, “I love Chocolove”, it rings true.