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There is more to good food than flavour - there is often an ethical element too.

Today, for many people, eating and enjoying food is one of our favourite activities – we expect variety, plenty, excitement and indulgence. We go to restaurants for an experience, buy ready meals for convenience, and take many of our affordable treats for granted.

Our celebration of food has brought with it growing awareness of the implications for our health, and also of where our food comes from – who grows it and how it is made. Food brands are increasingly keen to lead the way in addressing consumer concerns and expectations: as well as demanding a quality product, consumers are aware of the impact their purchase has on the people who produce it, and are conscious of their own health.

Chocolate companies have tried to address these issues: with obesity hitting the headlines some have shifted their focus to quality over quantity, and also given consumers a variety of assurances they are improving lives for cocoa farmers. The biggest issue driving change is ensuring a sustainable future for the industry – with the next generation of farmers seeing little attraction in growing a crop that does not earn them enough to live on, a continuing supply of cocoa to fulfil the world’s demand for chocolate is at risk.

One company, Divine Chocolate, was set up from the start to address this. It buys cocoa on Fairtrade terms - delivering a Premium to cocoa farmers they can invest in their families, farms and communities. In addition, it is also 44% owned by the farmers in Ghana who supply its cocoa. The focus is on product excellence – delivering both the variety and higher cocoa products consumers are now expecting, with an innovative business model giving farmers a real voice in the industry, and empowering them to invest in their own future.

Divine is seeing its product range enjoying success around the world. CEO Sophi Tranchell says, “buyers are looking for premium products from Britain and of course looking at sales, volume, value, profit, and availability. They highly rate our product taste and quality – but chocolate lovers everywhere are also engaging with our story and the issues it addresses.”

As populations around the world become more affluent, they are going to care more about their food – both their everyday staples and their treats. They are going to care that life’s pleasures don’t come at the cost of someone else’s livelihood, and demand that quality and sustainability can and should go hand in hand.

Further readingCelebrating British Excellence

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