Specialty Food Magazine

JUL-AUG 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 74 of 207

CANDY COUNTER the cause. Chocolate shouldn't be cheap. It means workers aren't being paid fairly and children are being enslaved." For companies like Coco-Zen, making less than $500,000 a year, Fair Trade USA charges a flat $1,000 yearly fee. For compa- nies making more than $500,000, the cost is a small yearly percentage of sales. "I always knew I wanted to do some- thing with organics," Kushner says, "and when I started researching ingredients I discovered fair trade and issues about child slavery in cocoa fields." Kushner, who is a regular blogger and social media user, notes that when she first started talking about fair trade, her customers weren't familiar with it. "But now there's been more news report- ing," she adds, "and CNN has been doing a modern-day slavery project on its site, so people are more aware." Coco-Zen has experienced a steady rise VRÀ ™ *ROG $ZDUG 2XWVWDQGLQJ %DNHG *RRG %DNLQJ ,QJUHGLHQW RU &HUHDO Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste in business every year since its launch, but in 2011 sales suddenly escalated 50 percent. Kushner attributes the jump to savvier mar- keting of her brand, such as working with nonprofit churches, schools and organiza- tions that want to sell ethical products at their fundraisers. "We've reached a whole new audience that way," she says. Coco-Zen relies on sourcing from Sweet Earth Chocolates, based in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Tom Neuhaus co-founded Sweet Earth in 2004 intending to be certi- fied organic and fair trade, "in the hope of providing socially conscious consumers an alternative to the mainstream chocolate business," he says. Neuhaus was dismayed by news reports about the worst forms of child labor associated with cacao grown in Ghana and Ivory Coast, the latter of which is the world's largest exporter of cacao beans, supplying as much as 75 percent of the beans used in American chocolate, according to the Global Cocoa Project. New Interest in Origin Specialty food consumers often ask retailers and producers where their food comes from. Increasingly, chocolate makers are being asked where their beans are from, notes Meghan Fitzpatrick, marketing specialist at Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlington, Vt. "Shoppers are looking for that transpar- ency," she says. Sweet Earth's chocolate is made from Criollo and Trinitario beans grown by fair-trade–certified cacao farmers in Peru, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. "As a chocolate-business owner, I want to see cocoa farmers in West Africa earn a better wage and thereby provide a higher standard of living for their children," Neuhaus says. Summer Fancy Food Show Booth 730 60 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE ❘ specialtyfood.com

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