Retraining my taste buds

Researching brand loyalty last week set me thinking. I would not consider myself a victim of brand loyalty. As any member of my family would tell you, I always buy what’s on special offer or stick to the supermarket’s own brand – which is sometimes boring and sometimes rather unusual, depending on the offers that week!

I guess chocolate is my main weakness. The main weakness for the majority of women, if my friends are anything to go by. Actually, it’s not that I often overindulge; it’s what I choose when I do. I already know all the arguments, but I still reach for the brands I grew up with. It’s just something about the taste.  A lick of a Cadbury’s crème egg takes me back to the tin of goodies under the driver’s seat in my Dad’s car. The first bite of a Double Decker prompts a flashback to my teenage years. The unwrapping of a Galaxy bar has Proustian reminders of waiting for the first signs of labour with my first child.

This week, Stop the Traffik(1) is organising the world’s largest chocolate fondue party. Stop the Traffik is a worldwide movement dedicating to raising awareness of and campaigning against the trafficking of people. Didn’t that end with the abolition of the slave trade? And didn’t we celebrate the 250th anniversary of that a couple of years ago?Two to four million people are trafficked every year. Children are sold by their parents for as little as $20 each. More than one person is trafficked across a border every minute.

But what has this got to do with chocolate? Everything, it seems. Nearly half the world’s cocoa comes from the Ivory Coast in West Africa and Stop the Traffik estimates that over 200,000 children work in its production, 12,000 of whom have been trafficked. Long hours, dangerous conditions, little or no pay, regular beatings – all of these are part of the chocolate that we love so much. Buying fair trade chocolate can make a difference. That is the only way to guarantee you are eating Traffik free chocolate.

So along with many others all over the world, I am holding a fair trade chocolate fondue party. Coinciding conveniently with my birthday, it will hopefully raise awareness amongst my family and friends of the plight of chocolate workers and introduce people to the all-round benefits of fair trade chocolate.

As for me, there is no excuse and I must stop pretending there is. I am on a mission to retrain my taste buds – however many dips in the fondue it takes!

(1) www.stopthetraffik.org

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