The Easter Bunny will be on her way soon – here’s hoping she’s bringing eco-conscious, Fair Trade chocolate to your home!
Like coffee, chocolate is one product that an ethically-minded consumer needs to source carefully. The issue of forced labor – specifically child labor – could easily have tainted our love of chocolate, but initiatives from Fair Trade certifiers like Fair Trade USA have made it easier to source chocolate that treats and pays its laborers fairly.
There are, however, other issues at play when it comes to chocolate: deforestation and other ecological concerns have posed problems in countries like the Ivory Coast, where the Guardian reports rainforest cover has been reduced by more than 80 percent since 1960 due in large part to the cocoa industry. These issues require conscientious consumers to do a bit more research to uncover the truth behind a brand's methods.
Luckily, there are quite a few of Fair Trade chocolate brands doing things right to choose from; here are four of our faves.
Alter Eco is a France-based company that employs small, Fair Trade cooperatives to ensure that workers get the treatment and pay they deserve. This is just one of the reasons Alter Eco is one of the top-rated chocolate brands in HowGood's rankings; the company rigorously researches food products and ranks them based on multiple metrics.
Aside from looking out for its producers, Alter Eco also looks out for the land.
“With the environmental goal of being carbon negative, they have planted more than two million trees through this project,” explains HowGood. “This allows farmers to protect their cacao crops, regenerate their ecosystem and diversify their sources of income.”
With flavors like Dark Twist with candied orange peel or Dark Salted Brown Butter, Alter Eco's chocolate bars are perfect for the true connoisseur. But if smaller chocolates fit into your Easter basket a bit better, Alter Eco has you covered: the company produces a variety of creamy truffles in flavors like sea salt, mint, and salted caramel, featuring unctuous coconut oil-enhanced centers.
This American company based out of Sedona, Arizona is another top pick from HowGood, which notes that the “nearly untouched raw cacao” churned out by this small-batch company makes a huge difference. Sourced entirely from family farms in Ecuador, the Arriba cacao is combined with low-glycemic coconut sugar and a variety of other organic, vegan, soy-free ingredients to make these tasty treats.
Chocolates in Lulu's product line often pair the antioxidant-rich raw cacao with other superfoods like hemp oil, maca, and raw cacao nibs, in addition to more traditional options like hazelnut or salted caramel. The company has also launched a few limited-edition special chocolates perfect for the Easter holidays.
Goodio is a Finnish chocolate company whose hand-crafted organic raw vegan chocolate bars feature whimsical flavors and gorgeous packaging.
To make Goodio chocolate bars, raw cacao is stone-ground for three days with sustainably harvested Indonesian coconut sugar. Goodio offers plain dark chocolates as well as flavored bars like chili, mint, wild blueberry, or a licorice and wild buckthorn blend. The company even makes a vegan milk chocolate with the tropical flavor and richness of coconut.
Goodio’s mission is above all to remain trustworthy and transparent with its consumers and to use its product to "accelerate positive change," according to founder Jukka Peltola.
"I really believe that the positive change will happen because it's happening all the time," says Pelota. "We’re happy to see such a big demand in the US for healthy treats. This is one step in the right direction.”
Driven by its company motto – "Healthy. Sustainable. Fair." – raw vegan chocolate company Loving Earth produces Fair Trade chocolate that is free of refined sugar, gluten, and artificial additives and full of love and commitment. To support the Peruvian farmers with which it works, the company purchases the entire harvest of heirloom Criollo cacao, a commitment that not only supports biodiversity in the region but supports the local community. The harvest is then shipped to Australia, where it is crushed raw with coconut sugar and either cashew, coconut, or cacao butter, depending on the bar being made.
Loving Earth sells eight different chocolate bars in the States, including 72 percent dark, berry crunch, salted caramel, and raspberry cashew mylk chocolate.
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