FAIRMADE. Yes, you read that correctly – not just Fair Trade or homemade but a whole new term for the chocolate industry! FAIRMADE both extends and combines the concepts of Fair Trade and Made at Origin.
We eat with our eyes first, right? Craft chocolate enthusiasts soak in their first impression of chocolate by examining the packaging. For the savvy consumer, it now seems commonplace to look for the origin of the cacao beans from which their fine chocolate gets made. This information increasingly appears on craft chocolate labels, ranging in specification from a single country (i.e. origin) to a single estate or plantation. However, this geographical information only tells one half of the story – specifically the source of the beans – but rarely paints the full picture with a clear identification of the location where the actual chocolate production took place. Instead, we usually must flip over the bar, squint at the fine print and then often read a generic locality of production, often somewhere in northern Europe or the United States where cacao does not grow.
Simply buying different bars from different makers that use a variety of bean origins plays an important role in recognizing and promoting the uniqueness of craft chocolate. However, supporting production at “origin” by buying chocolate made in the same place where the harvest occurs connects the consumers to a network of origin supplier communities.
Furthermore, in-country production considerably shortens the supply chain, increases transparency and reduces the extraneous costs associated with transporting materials across the globe to make chocolate. Financial investments remain in the country and help support further economic growth, sustainability of cocoa farming and social initiatives that overall improve the lives of cocoa farmers and the infrastructure needed for their participation in the global marketplace.
The Fine Chocolate Industry Association Fine Chocolate Glossary team find ourselves both honored and psyched to welcome a new word for industry consideration. As an open source glossary, we want to gather explanations of existing terms used in the chocolate industry. No term remains fixed or unchangeable. Rather, the Glossary serves as a “living document,” created to encourage dialogue and respectful debate among diverse voices. Integration of collective experiences reflect and represent the diversity of the cocoa and chocolate industries. Besides refining our understanding of existing terms, we also want to have the option to fill in existing gaps in our language with new terminology.
The coining of the term “FAIRMADE” by Brett Beach, Co-Founder of MIA, grants us our inaugural opportunity to test out the feedback function of the Glossary.
Feedback on the term can be submitted through the Glossary’s standard form (next to the last question).
With this press release, we will open a special 2-week comment period, ending soon after the June 24th FCIA Meeting in New York City where the Glossary Team will conduct a Lunch and Learn Workshop. Following this intensive push for comments, we will work collaboratively with Brett to incorporate the feedback from the form, FCIA members and combine it with what he gathers from stakeholders at origin. This will help illustrate how a Glossary entry may be modified, expanded and ultimately improved. As with all entries, anyone can provide feedback at any time, but we wanted to emphasize our desire for commentary from the industry with this new term.
Brett chose to launch FAIRMADE as a glossary submission “to give origin makers a shared identity and help create more awareness of the social impact and economic benefits of manufacturing chocolate in cocoa-producing countries.” Eventually we may see this term adopted for other commodities. Consequently, the process of review provided by the Glossary Feedback mechanism creates the possibility of collaboration and partnerships to make the term the most user-friendly it can be for the industry and the most beneficial it can be for those producing the products.
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