If you’re a chocolate lover, you'll no doubt be jumping for joy at the prospect of World Chocolate Day. Will you celebrate by supporting your all time favourite choc, or will you try something new? If you've not already joined the organic chocolate club, it may be time to give it a twirl. And here's for why. Chocolate is a commodity crop which means loaded shop shelves of mass-produced bars, biscuits and treats represent swathes of land and hundreds and thousands of people who are being squeezed at every step. Add in a dose of questionable ingredients (palm oil, "flavourings" and low cocoa content), even Willy Wonka’s mind would boggle at the weirdness within the world of modern chocolate making.
Chockbusters guide to ethical chocolate
Chocolate with added ethics
Organic isn’t just about avoiding chemical sprays and looking after environment. It's also about supporting a better way of living for the people behind your afternoon treat.
Organic is better for people working on the farms as they’re not exposed to harmful chemicals. And there aren't any chemical run offs that pollute local waterways. This is especially important in countries where water isn’t on tap. None of our organic chocolate uses palm oil, which, as you know, comes via forced labour, habitat-destroying, global warming-inducing deforestation. (Supporting the livelihood of sustainable and ethical palm oil plantations is really important to us, so it's not all bad.)
We've got a rather wonderful range of ethical, organic chocolate. Our collection of committed chocolatiers hand make their thoughtful treats on a small scale, with consideration to every step along the way.
Nu kids on the chocblock
Mathias from Nu Cao calls their organic chocolate bars 'chocolate reinvented'. Fed up with normal chocolate 'full of sugar, milk powder, palm fats', they invented something healthy, delicious, ethical and environmentally friendly to power them through their university study sessions.
"We wanted to maximise the positive impact on peoples' health and our planet. It's not easy! But we have the chance to do it. We believe it's great if you can do something good every time you eat something. Every one of us has to take action.
These choccy chappies don't use plastic and plant a tree for each bar sold. "How can we rethink capitalism? What can we change? These are the goals we set ourselves. Of course we wanted to trade fairly, have good packaging and make something healthy - but this is the base line of not making things worse rather than making things better.
"We knew that if we planted a tree for every bar we sold, we would make less money but we are so happy and proud to be doing it this way. We've planted 600,000 trees so far. We wanted to make high impact food - something that people want to buy every day, eat every day - that wouldn't have a negative impact on their bodies."
Finger on the buttons
We’ve worked with the wonderful Sarah and Rory Payne at Cocoa Loco in Kent for years. They've bean around the chocblock and have honed their sourcing and chocolatiering. Their delicious chocolate is organic, fair trade and single origin. This is no mean feat and illustrates their complete dedication to top notch, ethical organic chocolate. All of the cocoa beans used are sourced from a co-operative in the Dominican Republic, so farmers are paid a fair wage.
Their organic cocoa is grown in places where there are gaps in the rainforest canopy rather than from areas that have been cleared (hooray for monkeys!). This considerate cocoa cultivation means their buttons, bars and eggs are environmentally saint-like and taste heavenly.
Cocoa pods are often heavily sprayed, although being organic means Cocoa Loco's beans are pesticide free. Organic chocolate also tastes more chocolatey. Rory explains, “Our chocolate has a higher cocoa content than a lot of commercial bars. Even our milk chocolate has a cocoa content of 37% and our dark chocolate has 73%.”
Rory’s even got a Labour Policy to make sure Cocoa Loco's suppliers tow the ethical line. It’s one of the reasons we love working with people like this – especially in an industry where enforced labour and child trafficking can happen.