10 Eco-Friendly Chocolate Brands for Your Sweet Tooth
Many people turn to chocolate when it comes to satisfying their sweet tooth. In fact, people in the United States alone spend around $25 billion on chocolate each year. It’s such a sweet and rewarding treat. Why should we be concerned about purchasing eco-friendly chocolate?
Learn more about the dark side of chocolate production to understand why it’s important to choose sustainable chocolate. Then take a look at some of the best fair trade and eco-friendly chocolate brands so you can choose one that’s gentler on the planet and safer for the farmers.
The Problem With Chocolate
Cacao trees typically grow better under shade, but many farmers are now shifting their crops out of the shade and into direct sunlight to get a greater quantity of seeds in a shorter amount of time.
Since cacao trees need to grow in warm, humid environments, this sadly means chocolate farmers are razing the rainforest in order to clear land for cacao trees. Not only does this deforestation destroy wildlife and plant habitats, but it also results in soil erosion that damages the ecosystem even more.
Plus, since less shade means more weeds are able to grow around the cacao trees, the plants become more susceptible to diseases and pests. This means farmers start using large amounts of herbicides and pesticides around the trees.
Of course, not only do the herbicides and pesticides damage the land and the health of the people applying the products, but their residue can also get stuck on the cacao beans and transfer into the chocolate you’re eating.
In addition to considering how our chocolate is grown, but we also need to look at who grows it. The International Labor Organization estimates that millions of child laborers are working on farms to produce cocoa. As forced laborers, these children are coerced into working long hours in a difficult job for little or no pay.
With all these issues in mind, it’s easy to see why it’s so important to choose a sustainable chocolate brand that uses fair labor practices. Fortunately, you also have a variety of choices available.
Whether you’re buying as a treat for yourself or to give to someone you love, take a look at these best eco-friendly chocolate brands and choose one that has the flavors and options you like.
1. Alter Eco
If you’re looking for a zero waste chocolate brand, you must check out Alter Eco. This company believes that chocolate should be grown in thriving and diverse ecosystems, mixed with real and natural ingredients, and packaged in wrappings that can go in the compost bin instead of the landfill.
These chocolates don’t contain any soy ingredients, palm oil, refined sugar, or preservatives. What you will find are chocolate bars, chocolate truffles, and nut butter bombs made with organic, non-GMO ingredients.
You’ll also discover an incredible variety of flavors, such as mint, burnt caramel, raspberry, brown butter, and sea salt.
2. Beyond Good
Where to Buy: Amazon
Even though around 70% of the world’s cocoa is grown in Africa, less than 1% of the world’s chocolate is actually produced there. Beyond Good wants to change this by making all of its chocolates on the continent.
The single-origin chocolates are organic, Direct Trade certified, Non-GMO Project verified, kosher, and gluten-free. There are also numerous vegan varieties you can select.
Beyond Good empowers the farmers with skills training and higher wages. Since they produce the chocolate in Africa, the company has been able to create meaningful income for over 100 people — from chocolate and fruit farmers to package producers.
3. Endangered Species Chocolate
Endangered Species Chocolate cares about the farmers who grow its cocoa, the land used to grow the cocoa, and the animals we share our planet with. That’s why this company is dedicated to supporting communities that follow sustainable farming practices.
They use all-natural, shade-grown, ethically traded cocoa grown on fair trade farms. In addition to organic, non-GMO cocoa, these chocolates also use clean, natural, responsibly sourced ingredients for an exceptionally rich taste.
Plus, Endangered Species Chocolate is on a mission to positively impact the Earth’s species and habitats. That’s why every chocolate bar includes interesting facts about endangered animals inside each wrapper, and the company gives back 10% of its net profits to conservation initiatives that help save wildlife.
Where to Buy: Amazon
Whether you’re looking for chocolate for baking, chocolate bars, or chocolate candy cups, you can find what you want when you shop Theo. Theo was the first organic, fair trade chocolate maker in North America, and they’re committed to making sure the industry supports the livelihood of farmers by following fair trade practices.
The chocolates are responsibly sourced, certified organic, and made from cocoa beans grown in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Peru. In addition to non-GMO, soy free, and kosher chocolates, you can also find numerous vegan varieties.
All chocolate from Evolved is free of refined sugar, dairy, gluten, and soy. In fact, the company uses just a few simple and natural ingredients to give you a delicious and high-quality treat.
The chocolates are made using cacao that’s USDA organic and Rainforest Alliance certified. A Rainforest Alliance certification helps protect in multiple ways.
In addition to protecting the rainforests, it also takes cares of the rights of farmers by ensuring no child or forced labor is used and promoting safe and ethical working conditions and livable wages.
Unreal wants to create a world where you don’t have to feel guilty when you treat yourself to your favorite snack. That’s why this company makes snacks that are healthier AND they work with farmers that use safe and sustainable growing practices.
These chocolates don’t contain any soy, sugar alcohols, or artificial ingredients. Instead, they use a lot less sugar than regular chocolate candies. Additionally, all the colors they use in the chocolates come from all-natural vegetables, such as beets and spirulina.
Related: How to Make Homemade Natural Dyes
The chocolates are made in small batches using sustainably sourced and fair trade certified ingredients. Plus, any milk chocolates are made with RBST-free dairy.
7. Equal Exchange
Equal Exchange is a worker-owned cooperative that’s dedicated to fair trade standards that protect both people and the planet. Their chocolates and cocoas are made using USDA certified organic ingredients that are grown by small farmer co-ops in the Dominican Republic, Paraguay, and Madagascar.
In addition to chocolate bars, you can also get hot cocoa powders and baking chocolates. Plus, if you want to support small farmer co-ops in other areas, Equal Exchange also has whole bean coffee, ground coffee, and tea.
Related: Is There Plastic in Your Tea Bags?
8. Loving Earth
Where to Buy: Amazon
Loving Earth makes organic chocolate using regenerative cacao trees grown by the indigenous Ashaninka community that lives in the remote Peruvian Amazon, which is where cacao originated. Not only does this dairy-free and vegan chocolate taste amazing, but it’s also gentler on the planet.
And it’s not just the chocolate that’s made from plants. The chocolate boxes are made from post-consumer recycled fiberboard and colored using vegetable ink dyes. By using recycled and all-natural materials to make the boxes, the company doesn’t have to cut down any trees or release any harmful chemicals into the water supply.
Plus, even though the wrappers look like plastic, they’re actually made from plant cellulose and cornstarch polymer. This means they’re completely home compostable, which makes Loving Earth another outstanding option for zero waste chocolate!
When you choose a Hu chocolate bar, you won’t be eating something that has weird ingredients you can’t pronounce. Take a look at the ingredient list and you won’t see things like sugar alcohols, soy lecithin, or emulsifiers.
Instead, you’ll see organic fair trade cacao, unrefined organic coconut sugar, and organic fair trade cocoa butter. Plus, all of the products the company makes are vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and use non-GMO ingredients.
Where to Buy: Amazon
Pacari has a motto that’s beautiful and inspiring. They say they don’t want to make the best chocolate in the world. They want to make the best chocolate FOR the world.
That’s why this top eco-friendly chocolate brand works directly with more than 3,500 small-scale farmers to give them a fair price for their product.
They understand that it’s their responsibility to promote sustainable growing practices that work with nature instead of against it. So they also help their farmers produce organic, quality crops that help take care of the land and people.
In addition to using fair trade certified and non-GMO ingredients, Pacari is also a company dedicated to reducing its ecological footprint. That’s why many of their chocolates come in biodegradable and compostable packaging.
The Best Sustainable Chocolate Brands
Your favorite sweet treat doesn’t have to hurt the planet and the people who make it. Instead, you can indulge in one of these best eco-friendly chocolate brands and enjoy something that tastes great and takes better care of our planet!
More Outstanding Eco-Friendly Living Tips
Did you enjoy learning more about the best fair trade and eco-friendly chocolate brands? Are you interested in checking out even more awesome tips that can help you live an eco-friendly life? Then please be sure to take a look at some of our other popular posts: