With Valentine's Day coming up chocolate sales are on the rise. Thankfully our friends at Tony's Chocolonely are giving the chocolate industry some much needed love. Child labor and human trafficking are major issues in the chocolate industry. It is estimated that in Ghana and the Ivory Coast 2.3 million children work on cocoa farms, 90% of which are under illegal conditions. Thankfully, Tony's Chocolonely is taking action by creating slave free chocolate bars. Tony's Chocolonely is on a mission to make, not only their chocolate, but all chocolate slave free. However, this requires the help of chocoholics everywhere! By choosing to purchase Tony's chocolate you are using your consumer vote for good by demanding fair chocolate.
Tony (Teun), a Dutch investigative reporter and the pioneer behind this slave free chocolate movement, felt called to take action after opening an investigation about the slave labor in the chocolate industry. He was appalled to discover most of the big name chocolate brands were purchasing cocoa from farms that used slave labor. When he called to question these brands, it was clear they were aware of the abuse behind the cocoa, but chose to turn the other cheek. However, Tony could not ignore this issue. Tony wanted to cause a scene and bring awareness to the injustice of people in the chocolate industry. He ate some unethical chocolate bars and turned himself into the authorities as a criminal for being complicit to slavery through the intentional purchase of the chocolate.
Tony went to the Ivory Coast to meet the people who had worked in the cocoa industry. He gathered stories and used them as his witnesses for the crime he committed by eating the chocolate. Meanwhile, 2,136 other chocolate consumers had joined Tony's movement. While Tony was waiting to find out his fate from the judge, he decided he couldn't sit still any longer. He took action by creating his own slave free chocolate bar.
At this point in time the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was about to come out and Tony felt it would be a great time for his slave free chocolate bar to launch. In 2005 the first batch of Fair Trade Tony's Chocolonely bars were released. Tony decided to use the term Chocolonely because he felt like he was one of the lonely few that cared about the abuse taking place behind the bars. In the end Tony was not punished for his chocolate crime. However, Tony's brave actions raised a lot of awareness and encouraged the start of his own slave free chocolate empire.
Tony's Chocolonely bars are delicious! Very smooth chocolate with bold flavor. You can tell these bars are made with love! Tony has quite the variety of flavors including milk chocolate, extra dark chocolate, milk caramel sea salt, dark coffee crunch, dark pecan coconut, and dark almond sea salt. Be sure to check out their limited edition bar Valentine's Day dark chocolate cherry meringue bar. It is so yummy! Smooth with a bit of crunch and some sweet fruit. You must try Tony's Chocolonely! Their bars can be found in select stores and you can order online (link below).
I'm am SO impressed by the incredible work of Tony and his team! Their dedication to transparency and building relationships with their cocoa farms is inspiring. They are definitely leading the chocolate industry in a positive direction. Tony and his team released a documentary about the journey which is very intriguing. 10/10 would recommend watching, so much to learn about the chocolate industry. Tony's website has an abundance of resources as well. I encourage you to explore and consider purchasing some delicious slave free chocolate. This Valentine's Day give your loved ones chocolate made with the thought of others in mind.
*Statistics provided are from Tony Chocolonely's website referencing studies done by Tulane University.