There's a wonderful world of chocolate out there, and now, thankfully, ethical chocolate brands are cropping up all over the place. That means you no longer have to feel guilty when indulging in your favourite treat.
While, for many of us, chocolate is heavenly, often, the production behind it is not. Some of the bigger chocolate brands’ practices have been linked to the exploitation of workers, deforestation and unsustainability.
In recent years, concerns have also been raised around the future of cacao trees, which as a vulnerable crop could completely disappear by mid-century! That would mean a world with no chocolate!
Fortunately, there are a growing number of ethical chocolate brands that prioritise fair trade, safe practices and social, environmental and economic sustainability.
Below is our list of the top 6 ethical chocolate brands that are changing the game, delivering on taste and staying true to their values.
Give in to Divine
This 100% fair trade-certified chocolate brand was founded back in 1999 and dedicates itself to ethical practices. Its motto is: "Owned by cocoa farmers & made for chocolate lovers," and that's because it is part-owned (44%) by Kuapa Kokoo, a Ghanaian cocoa farmers' cooperative.
As well as promoting economic sustainability and fairness, they specifically empower female farmers too. The company even secured an impressive 84/100 by the ECI.
The chocolate brand sources its beans from a place known as ‘Chocolate Island’, which is found in São Tomé in West Africa and offers an array of yummy flavours. There's something for everyone, from classics like smooth milk chocolate and creamy white chocolate to flavour sensations like toffee and sea salt and punchy raspberry.
For those organic fanatics, the chocolate brand also offers a 100% organic range that features flavours such as turmeric and ginger, blueberry and lemon.
Can't say no to Yes Cacao
Another company leading the way for ethical chocolate is Yes Cacao. Founded by Justin Frank Polgar, the company is very much mission-driven. It sources its beans from a team of 450 wild harvesters in Ecuador, using no farms and no plantations; the company says that this benefits the soil, the cacao trees, the ecosystem, and the workers.
Yes Cacao uses organic, raw, wild-harvested cacao to create its bars and infuses them with ingredients such as turmeric, maca, shilajit, fennel, reishi, lion's mane, and kava. These botanical bars are certainly one of a kind, with each having a specific intention, and while they're healthy, they're also mouth-wateringly delicious.
The Bliss Out bar is said to promote feelings of relaxation and calm and can even be eaten before bed. This nutty vanilla bar contains organic GABA tea, organic lucuma, kava, organic vanilla bean, and organic turmeric extract, to name but a few of its amazing ingredients. Meanwhile, the Brain Power bar, which tastes buttery with a hint of spice, is made to sharpen the brain, which includes the Brain Power Formula made from:
- Organic lucuma
- Organic maca
- Organic mesquite
- Organic yacon
- Organic vanilla bean
- Organic coriander
- Organic lion's mane
- Organic ginkgo, and
- Organic turmeric extract
These bars really pack a punch of cacao with layers of flavour from the different botanicals, and while they may challenge your taste buds at first, they're truly unique, and can be found on Artos Marketplace.
Totally looney about Tony's Chocolonely
This ethical chocolate brand is on a mission to end child exploitation in the cocoa industry. The Dutch company was founded by a group of journalists who uncovered child exploitation and slavery in the industry. Shocked by what they found, they were inspired to create a brand committed to eradicating these harmful practices.
The brand is guided by five source principles:
- Ensuring their cocoa is completely traceable
- Paying farmers a higher price for cocoa
- Working to strengthen farmer cooperatives
- Forming and engaging in long-term relationships with the cooperatives (a minimum of five years)
- Supporting farmers to become more professional to increase the quality and quantity of cocoa they produce
All its main ingredients, including sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, and honey, derive from a cooperative on Ghana's Ivory Coast, too.
Tony's Chocolonely bars are not only helping to change the world to make it a better place, but they're scrumptious as well and available in a wide range of flavours. This includes milk chocolate caramel sea salt, milk chocolate almond honey nougat, milk chocolate hazelnut, dark milk chocolate pretzel toffee, dark chocolate almond sea salt and 70% dark chocolate.
To match the bar’s bold flavours, they have a bright and colourful exterior too. The packaging is eye-catching, and on the inside, the chocolate brand explains the message behind the chocolate's uneven blocks. This, the company says, represents both the inequality in the chocolate industry and the countries where the majority of chocolate derives, such as the Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Nigeria.
Montezuma is a fantastic ethical chocolate brand founded over two decades ago by two chocolate lovers who travelled around South America. From the very beginning, this chocolate brand committed itself to ethical practices and is guided by principles it calls ‘Business Done Properly’.
These principles include:
- Sourcing cocoa from sustainable sources
- Never buying cocoa from the open market to ensure that it's traceable and sustainable
- Aiming to buy cocoa from sources whether there isn't deforestation
- Taking active steps to ensure that no slave or child labour is involved in the sourcing of cocoa
- Paying a premium for all the cocoa they buy
It's not just good on the inside, either. Now, 100% of its new range has packaging that is either compostable, biodegradable or recyclable.
As well as ensuring that they create ethical chocolate, the company is also taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint, which is great news for all the climate warriors out there. It uses 100% renewable energy to fuel its chocolate production, recycles water and is currently seeking B-Corp accreditation. So, from the beginning of chocolate production to the moment the wrapper goes in the bin, this brand shows it's actively taking steps to minimise its environmental impact.
Montezuma essentially ensures that substance takes precedence over style when it comes to ethics, and we've not even got on to the chocolate yet!
This chocolate brand has an incredibly varied selection of chocolate, including buttons, bars, truffles, and drinking chocolate. Flavours range from orange and geranium to lemon and coconut. Bestsellers include absolute black with almonds, mint and white chocolate with raspberry.
There's a fabulous array of vegan chocolates too, so those looking for dairy-free alternatives certainly won't be stuck for choice. With old favourites like dark chocolate and mint and new flavour combinations such as lime and sea salt, this chocolate brand delivers every time.
Seed & Bean seal the deal
When it comes to ethical chocolate, Seed & Bean walk the walk and is accredited as one of Britain's most ethical chocolate producers. The Good Shopper Guide even gave the company 100% accreditation on their Ethical Chocolate rankings. The chocolates they make are 100% organic, ethically sourced and handmade in England.
This company is driving forward sustainability too. It's the UK's first chocolate brand to have completely compostable packaging, which it achieved through using Natureflex, made from eucalyptus wood pulp. This puts it at the forefront of the zero-plastic, zero-waste mission.
Seed & Bean is well known for its exciting flavour combinations that set it apart from its competitors. Some of its eccentric flavours include lemon and poppy seed white chocolate, mandarin and ginger dark chocolate, lavender extra dark chocolate, and lemon and cardamom dark chocolate.
Delicious Dirty Cow
This 100% vegan chocolate brand delivers delicious handmade bars of milk-free choccy goodness using cocoa sourced from certified sustainable farming. Each product the company creates also has fair trade certification. So while they may be dirty by name, they're clean by nature.
On top of this commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing, Dirty Cow also uses 100% recyclable packaging and follows a zero-waste philosophy.
The boutique chocolate bars this company creates are truly outstanding and are achieved by dunking individual ingredients into chocolate. Some of the taste sensations on offer include cinnamon churros, mixed berries, popcorn and pistachio.
If you’re a consumer looking to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, or if you’re a retailer or restaurateur looking to provide the best socially conscious confectionery, there is a brilliant selection of ethical chocolate brands on the market.
Their slightly higher price tag means that more care and consideration is put into creating these chocolates, and those who work hard to make them receive the wages they deserve. It also means that higher quality ingredients are used in the production, and that's incredibly attractive to customers.
A recent study by Cargill even found that an increasing number of consumers (70%) factor in sustainability and ethics when it comes to choosing chocolate. A total of 68% also said they would pay more for a chocolate product made with sustainable cocoa.
So, it appears that ethical and sustainable brands are really the way forward when it comes to the future of chocolate.
If you have any questions regarding ethical products, or you'd like to try Artos Marketplace for yourself, schedule a quick call with us today.