Ethical chocolatiers to consider for Easter 2021
Spring has sprung, the days are getting longer again, and Easter is upon us.
One of the most recognisable aspects of Easter, the Easter egg itself, is an institution of its own. But times have changed, and consumers show greater concern than ever before about how they’re made. For example, did an entire forest have to be cut down, to supply the palm oil used in its manufacture? Is it vegan-friendly and dairy-free?
To help spot the good eggs from the bad eggs, here is our list of chocolatiers who each do their part to provide ethically-produced chocolate. It’s sweet and delicious, but with a message hidden inside each egg.
A chocolate revolution – Lucocoa Chocolate
Founded in 2015, Lucocoa Chocolate is London’s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker. We spoke to its creator, Amarachi Clarke, to get the inside story from an ethical chocolate manufacturer on the cusp of Easter, one of the biggest dates in the calendar.
“What we do is find farmers to work with, who are sustainable and ethical…we pay the farmers the right price”, Amarachi explains. There are a range of flavours to be had, and unlike the ‘big chocolate’ brands, Lucocoa ditches conventional ingredients like refined sugar in favour of sweeteners such as unrefined coconut sugar and lucuma fruit from Peru.
We’ll have this chocolate revolution, I’m determined of it!– Amarachi Clarke, Founder, Lucocoa Chocolate
Supply chain transparency for cocoa beans and other ingredients is crucial for Lucocoa. Chocolate is often seen as cheap and easy to come by and much of it is produced through child labour in West Africa. By finding farmers committed to more ethical farming standards, Lucocoa can also expand the breadth and variety of chocolates available, even if that means the price tag is higher than what we’re used to. It’s nothing short of a revolution for chocolate. “People are starting to be more conscious about what they’re eating…coffee had its revolution.”
A chocolate revolution would mean ensuring the sourcing of chocolate is above board, with a wider palate of flavours to choose from, much like how we consider coffee and wine to be rich in varieties. The future of chocolate means rethinking the value of it, from something cheap and generic, to something high-quality, starting with carefully-sourced brands such as Lucocoa. “We’ll have this chocolate revolution, I’m determined of it!”, Amarachi confidently tells us.
Supporting an old tradition – Booja Booja
When they’re not making Easter eggs, Booja Booja produce a range of vegan chocolates, truffles and ice creams, all organically sourced and dairy-free. Based in Norfolk, this brand has been leading the way in vegan confectionery since 1999. For 20 years, Booja Booja has been working closely with a social enterprise based in Kashmir, India, called Persian Dowery.
Artistic traditions in this region had been on the decline, due to low levels of tourism and political turbulence in the region. However, Persian Dowery has been helping create a thriving industry of artisans who help produce handmade Easter eggs for Booja Booja. An egg from Booja Booja not only makes for a tasty treat this Easter, but it also helps support families in Kashmir, protecting an invaluable local tradition of artistry.
From bean to bar – Salcombe Dairy
Salcombe Dairy sources its cocoa from Peru and Ecuador, with help from a number of South American co-operatives. The brand boasts an ethical bean-to-bar approach in its chocolate-making, ensuring that the cacao it uses is fairly traded and organic. That means the farmers get a fair price for their produce, and don’t have to use chemicals during the growing process, which helps maintain a healthier environment and deliver a tastier treat, when the egg is finished.
Not only are Salcombe Dairy Easter eggs sourced at a fair price and organic – they come in fully compostable boxes, meaning that once you’re finished, the packaging can do its bit to help other plants grow, once you’ve finished enjoying the contents.
From cocoa with love – Love Cocoa
Love Cocoa produces a distinctive range of cylindrical boxes made from entirely recyclable materials and a range of products to suit any taste. On the packaging, you can’t help but notice their commitment to the environment straight away, with the pledge of “One Bar, One Tree Planted” – this means the production of each chocolate bar from Love Cocoa is offset with the planting of one tree, limiting the carbon footprint each time.
Love Cocoa Easter eggs come in a range of indulgent flavours, including Sea Salt or prosecco (complete with Pink Gin Truffles), but that’s not the most important thing. Love Cocoa is committed to a future without palm oil. Oil palm plantations do incredible damage to the animals and plant life of forests all over the world, harming endangered species such as the Orangutan, Sumatran rhino and the pygmy elephant.
Love Cocoa’s policy of zero palm oil in its entire collection of chocolate products helps choke off the demand for oil from this damaging industry, and limit the damage done to these endangered animals.
Serious about slavery – Tony’s Chocolonely
Despite the zany name, Tony’s Chocolonely is a brand with an important message. Its slogan is “Crazy about Chocolate, Serious About People”, but what does that mean, you may ask.
Tony’s Chocolonely produces chocolates and Easter eggs especially, using plastic-free wrapping, but it is one of the most vocal brands speaking out about the issue of chocolate slavery. As mentioned, when talking about Lucocoa, farms have often used child labour in order to source the cocoa used in making chocolate to keep costs low.
Brands including Mars, Nestlé and Hershey have faced child slavery lawsuits as a result of this practice.
The movement to stamp out this illegal activity is gaining traction, however, especially thanks to brands such as Tony’s Chocolonely. They hope that, through spreading the word about sourcing cocoa from more ethical sources, they can usher in an environment in which all of our chocolate is sourced without any need for children to suffer needlessly.
Admittedly, the issue is more entrenched in the industry than many realise – while no instances of child labour have been found in their own supply chain, Tony’s Chocolonely was recently removed from Slave Free Chocolate’s list of ethical companies earlier this year. This is tied to a collaboration they made with Barry Callebaut, a manufacturer found to have serious supply chain issues linked to child labour themselves. Clearly, the quest for a more ethical way to enjoy chocolate continues, and could take time to accomplish.
Sharing out the profits – Divine Chocolate
Co-owned by Ghanaian farmers, Divine Chocolate produces a range of Fairtrade Easter eggs which have the Fairtrade seal of approval. Divine traces its roots back to the creation of Kuapa Kookoo, a Ghanaian cocoa farmers’ co-operative founded in 1993. Ghana is the world’s second-largest producer of cocoa, and the bulk of the country’s agricultural output stems from producing these tasty little beans.
Despite a bumper crop of cocoa beans, many farmers have lived in poverty for years, earning as little as 30p per day from cocoa. This merely perpetuates the poverty trap the farmers find themselves in. That’s why Divine Chocolate does its utmost to ensure that its products use as many Fairtrade-sourced ingredients as possible – so you can enjoy a mouth-watering range of flavoured Easter eggs which were produced at a fair price for the cocoa farmers of Ghana.