October 9, 2013
Divine Chocolate is a fair trade company that is owned by its farmers. It began in 1998 with the launch of “Divine,” a fair trade chocolate bar that for the first time was aimed at the average consumer. These chocolates, made in Germany from cocoa cultivated and exported from Ghana, are now available in the U.S. and the U.K.
Divine Chocolate started out as an idea by a group of farmers in Ghana (including Ghana Cocoa Board member Nana Frimpong Abrebrese) when the cocoa market was liberalized in the country. The group knew they could produce and trade their own cocoa and therefore pooled their resources and set up Kuapa Kokoo, or “Good Cocoa Growers,” which is a farmer’s co-operative. They set out on a mission to “empower farmers in their efforts to gain a dignified livelihood, to increase women’s participation in all of Kuapa’s activities, and to develop environmentally friendly cultivation of cocoa.” Twin Trading, another fair trade company, also decided to participate and lend its support to Kuapa Kokoo.
In 1997 the group came up with the Divine Chocolate Bar which they wanted to market as Fair Trade, alongside mainstream chocolate bars of popular brands. With this idea in mind, Kuapa Kokoo partnered with Twin Trading and other companies such as The Body Shop and formed The Chocolate Day Company, known today as Divine Chocolate. Since its birth, Kuapa Kokoo has grown to 65 million members and has 35% shares in Divine Chocolate U.S and 45% in Divine Chocolate U.K, with two representatives sitting on the Company’s board.
Divine Chocolate currently has sixteen different chocolate bars along with snacks and baking products like cocoa powder. All of these are made with cocoa bought from Kuapa Kokoo at $200 more than the minimum fair trade price which is $2000 per ton. All of their products are vegetarian and they even have some dark chocolate vegan options.
Although Divine Chocolate is not certified organic (because of the risk of introducing organic cocoa farming in Ghana) they are natural, made only with natural cocoa butter and vanilla, lecithin from GM-free soya, without any vegetable fat substitutes.
Divine Chocolates can be purchased online from their website: www.divinechocolate.com or can be found inside various specialty and grocery stores throughout the country, such as Whole Foods.
Photo Credit: www.divinechocolate.com