All About Chocolate
World Chocolate Day is on 7 July
by Brian Radcliffe
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage us to think about eating chocolate and the dilemmas we might face.
Preparation and materials
- Have available an image of the Fairtrade logo, either on screen or on a product. An example is available at: https://tinyurl.com/cxb32te4
- Ask the children, ‘Who here likes chocolate?’
Listen to a range of responses.
Ask the children, ‘What are your favourite types of chocolate?’
Listen to a range of responses.
- Ask the children, ‘How much do you like chocolate?’
Point out that there used to be a series of popular TV adverts based around the slogan ‘Do you love anyone enough to give them your last Rolo?’
The suggestion here is that someone could love another person even more than chocolate. Some people have had the slogan embossed on a heart or turned into a piece of jewellery!
- Chocolate comes in many varieties. There is plain, white, milk, salted, chilli-flavoured and nutty chocolate, to name a few, and chocolate is used as a covering for many types of biscuits, cakes and fruit, as well as in chocolate fountains for special occasions.
- Point out that the children’s mouths may now be watering as their taste buds are activated! Explain that the reason you’ve been talking about chocolate is because 7 July is World Chocolate Day.
- Explain that in this assembly, we want to explore three particular things to do with chocolate. We call them dilemmas. A dilemma is a situation where we face a difficult choice between two or more alternatives.
- The first dilemma is whether to share our chocolate. It can be hard to share something that’s so enjoyable. However, we’ve already considered this one and it’s not a major issue. After all, we are lucky in that we can always buy another bar of chocolate if we share one with others.
There are two other dilemmas to consider when we make choices about chocolate, though: what it’s made of and where it comes from.
- What it’s made of. Chocolate mainly consists of fat and sugar. Fat contributes to weight gain and sugar can result in tooth decay. Chocolate can’t be part of our five a day, nor is it one of the building blocks of a healthy diet. It sounds like we could be better off without it.
However, moderate amounts of chocolate can be good for us. Some chocolate encourages the brain to increase its production of a chemical that improves our mood, so eating some plain chocolate that contains a high percentage of cocoa might make us feel happier . . . but we shouldn’t have too much.
- Where it comes from. Chocolate production throughout the world is not always ethical. Small, local producers are often paid very low prices for their harvest, which makes it hard for them to have enough to live on. In addition, to increase how much cocoa they can sell, some farmers chop down rainforests to make room for cocoa plantations that can enjoy full sun. This deforestation is a factor in climate change. It sounds like the world might be better off without chocolate.
However, there are companies that have committed themselves to paying producers fairly and investing in their communities. We can easily identify them by the Fairtrade logo that’s printed on the packaging.
Time for reflection
Show the image of the Fairtrade logo.
Fairtrade products are widely available in supermarkets and local shops, with Co-op being the first UK retailer to source all of its cocoa on Fairtrade terms. Fairtrade chocolate is not just for a few special people, or particularly expensive, but it does mean that we need to look more carefully at the wrapper when we pick up a chocolate bar.
Let’s return now to our initial dilemma: do we love anyone enough to give them our last Rolo (or other type of chocolate)?
A willingness to share what we have and give pleasure to someone else is a great example of unselfish love. Maybe today we’ll see a few more examples of this kind of sharing in school!
‘The prayer of St Francis (Make me a channel of your peace)’, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihhvm6eLWZI (2.51 minutes long)
- Invite the children to find out more about Fairtrade products. They could even look into setting up a Fairtrade stall in school.