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Got a sweet tooth? There’s no need to be ashamed. After all, candy isn’t just for Halloween. Like other products, however, there are some manufacturers that are more responsible than others. Considering where your candy comes from and how it’s produced is one step towards being a more responsible consumer.
Look for the Fair Trade logo on candy bars or other chocolate products. Fair trade certification ensures that cocoa growers receive a fair price for their product and regulates working conditions on farms. Mars, one of the largest candy producers, pledged last year to source all chocolate from farms certified by the Rainforest Alliance. They plan to make the shift complete in 2020. Cadbury, another major manufacturer, has been using Fair Trade chocolate in their dairy milk bar since last fall.
Fair Trade doesn't just apply to chocolate. Sugar can also be Fair Trade-certified, like these gourmet candy canes and cotton candy from Toronto-based Pure Fun Confections. Yummy Earth makes organic candies with no corn syrup and all-natural flavoring. Although they aren't certified Fair Trade, they are a better option than most mainstream selections. The Natural Candy Store likewise offers a wide selection of organic, Fair Trade, kosher, and gluten-free candy, all of which can be checked against complete lists of ingredients.
Buying candy that does less harm to our environment and doesn't rely on child labor or exploitative practices to make is an important step. As consumers, we vote with dollars every time we step into a store or make online purchases. You can go further by encouraging your favorite producers to change their practices and supporting them when they do. If there's a product you buy regularly, look into the company that makes it to find out where their ingredients come from and whether or not they support environmentally-friendly practices and workers' rights. Supporting small producers — people who can tell you where their ingredients come from and how their products were created — also makes it easier to keep tabs on the journey your candy makes from the farm to you. It will taste that much sweeter as a result.
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