I have seen horror, I have looked into its face! What kind of monsters fix the price of chocolate? Why? Why? There is no justice! The Horror! Ok, perhaps a bit dramatic, but as a chocoholic I’m not sure how I could be less dramatic. Sadly, this is not the only dark side to chocolate industry.
Apparently Cadbury Adams Canada Inc., Nestle Canada Inc. and Mars Canada Inc., and Hershey Canada Inc. have settled a class-action lawsuit for price-fixing chocolate.
What does this mean to anyone who bought chocolate from Cadbury, Hershey, Nestle and/or Mars in Canada between Feb. 1, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2008? Sweet nothings.
Why? Courts in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec ruled you had to buy at least a $1000 worth of chocolate between Oct. 1, 2005, and Sept. 30, 2007 and if you didn’t keep the receipts, the maximum claim is $50. Keep the receipts? I’m lucky if I get the wrapper off the chocolate before I devour it.
Only commercial vendors are expected to benefit from the ruling. The deadline for filing a claim to receive direct compensation is Dec. 15, 2013. Since they think few consumers are likely to claim their $1,000 because they made it pretty much impossible to do so, 10% of the available settlement will go to several non-profit organizations to promote competition, consumer education and advocacy in Canada. Ha.
The lesson here is that corporations don’t do what is in the best interests of customers, they want your money, no matter how they can get it. Yet these are the same companies that are getting tax breaks galore while the inequality gap grows and grows. Of course, there is always the issue of Fair Trade Chocolate. Like so many other products we import we don’t always know the horrible conditions, including child labour and slavery, and the unfair deals that came before we took a bite into that smooth, creamy chocolate.
The International Standards for Fairtrade certified cocoa are:
- Producers are small family farms organized in cooperatives or associations which they own and govern.
- The Fairtrade Minimum Price is paid directly to the producer organizations. When the world market price rises above the Fairtrade Minimum Price, the market price is paid plus the Fairtrade Premium.
- A Fairtrade Premium is paid on top of the purchase price and is used by producer organizations for social and economic investments.
- Environmental standards restrict the use of agrochemicals and encourage sustainability.
- Pre-harvest lines of credit are given to the cooperatives, if requested, of up to 60% of the purchase price
- No forced labour of any kind, including child labour.
Unlike money, cocoa does grow on trees and there’s a lot more that goes into chocolate than just a delicious treat. Did you know that it takes a full annual harvest from one cocoa tree to produce one tin of baking cocoa, seriously. So enough with the sweet deals for corporations. Nothing sweet about blood chocolate.