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Green & Black's Organic, Fair-Trade & Non-GMO Chocolates... The Real Deal?

Posted Feb 12 2010 12:00am

Love chocolate? We do... almost too much. Whenever we buy chocolate we always make sure it is organic and dark. Keep reading and learn why.

So, Valentine's Day is coming up and chocolates are everywhere! Valentine's Day is a really special day for us... it is my Daddio's birthday! I really want to make him his favorite cake, which is carrot cake. I am going to try making a soaked version of it. I'll post about it if it goes well!

I hope everybody has a wonderful day! What do you normally do for your love ones on Valentine's? Buy roses? Make something sickly sweet? A diamond? A new kitchen gadget? Dinner at a nice restaurant?  Or a box of chocolates? Need ideas of what kind of chocolates to buy? Let me tell you about Green & Black's Chocolates.

I was recently contacted by this company and they asked if I would like to sample some of their chocolate... of course, I took up their offer and had the samples sent to my in-laws. I will have to wait till April to try them... if my in-laws can keep them that long for me without eating all of them! Haha! Of course, I need to mention that I am not being paid for this post and I was under no obligation to write this review.

Anyway, some of you might be thinking I could've asked them to send it here. Nope, I couldn't ask them to send it all the way here to Costa Rica. I don't think it would've made it past the inspectors... they'll eat it all up and sent me an empty box!  :o)

Anyway, back to the chocolates...

The Great News
I'm sure many of you are very familiar with this brand of chocolates. Nowadays, you can find them at your nearest grocery store or health food store. I am thrilled to let you all know that Green & Black's has announced a commitment to move its entire chocolate range, worldwide, to Fair Trade. Below are some additional details:

  • With this commitment, Green & Black’s will become the world’s leading 100% organic and 100% Fair Trade Certified chocolate brand.
  • This Fair Trade commitment will provide farmers with the security of fair prices.
  • Green & Black’s will make an additional monetary investment of $485,000 per year for the next ten years for social, environmental and economic development in the farmers’ communities.

The Bad News
I hate sharing bad news along with the good, but it need to be said because I care. For those who might be concern, G&B's milk chocolates contain whole milk powder and it is the second ingredient after the cane sugar. Milk powder contains oxidized cholesterol, which can cause heart disease. You can read more about oxidized cholestrol here and here. You know, I just had a thought... why not replace the whole milk powder with coconut milk powder? Coconut milk powder does not oxidized and is a much better alternative to milk powder. Just a thought.

Anyway, next is the soy lecithin. Yes, it is organic so it is not GMO, but it is a soy product. It doesn't concern me as much as the milk powder because it is such a small amount, but I know it might concern some of you out there. Here's what I learned from Ann Marie (aka Cheeseslave) in regarding the soy lecithin:

"I heard Kaayla Daniel, author of I heard Kaayla Daniel, author of The Whole Soy Story say on her Underground Wellness radio show interview that she doesn’t worry too much about soy lecithin in things like candy bars — she said it’s such a small amount. She said the things you really need to watch out for are things like tofu, soy milk and soy flour in bread — and soybean oil. But small amounts of soy lecithin here and there won’t hurt you. I”m paraphrasing her but that was basically what she said."

Next, I have Craig Sams' (President of Green & Black's) comments regarding the soy lecithin:

"There are two ways to ensure that chocolate slips out of the molds cleanly: either add a very small amount of (non-GM) soy lecithin or increase the cocoa butter content – at Green & Black’s we chose to keep the cocoa mass content as high as possible to retain our distinctive flavor, so we use lecithin that comes from identity preserved sources and is double checked with analysis to make sure there are no GM residues."

In regarding the milk powder, Craig did mentioned that they will be initiating a dark-only production line... meaning that there will be zero traces of milk on the dark chocolates. Right now they put milk on the dark labels because they have been producing it on the same production line as their milk chocolates. Here's his explaination:

"You asked about milk in the dark labels. It is a temporary thing. It is unhygienic to use water to clean down chocolate production as the water can lead to microbiological problems, so the way we clean through a line is to push through chocolate. So the first half tonne or so of dark chocolate that we make after making milk chocolate just purges any trace of the milk chocolate and then is later used for making milk chocolate. Then we make dark chocolate – but there have still been traces of milk from the previous run and occasionally these turn up in very small, but measurable, proportions. Hence the labelling. This is not unique to Green & Black’s but what is unique is that we tell the customer about it. We have analysed other dark chocolate from other manufacturers labelled ‘vegan’ or ‘dairy-free’ and found traces of milk at higher levels than in our dark chocolate with a milk ingredient declaration."

There you have it... now you can make your decision if you want to support this company or not. Sounds to me they are trying to work with integrity to bring the best chocolates to the market. They seem to help bridge the gap between the really expensive chocolate market and mass-market chocolates, making good quality, organic chocolates available to the general comsumer . Right now I only recommend the dark varieties... they are higher in antioxidants and a better alternative to the milk varieties unless they come up with some other way (like using coconut milk powder instead!). Another thing to note: G&B's is owned by Cadbur, which is owned by Kraft. I know some of you don't like to buy products from big corporations.

Why Buy Organic Chocolate?
Did you know that most non-organic chocolates have GMOs ingredients? Yep, you can read about it from Kelly's post and find out for yourselves. GMOs are not to be taken lightly... slowly studies are revealing that GMOs are dangerous to our environment and personal health. I know I need to write up a post on why we've chosen to stay away from GMOs... that will come soon.

Another great discovery about this company based in NJ... they work with Jeffrey Smith and the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT). They are leading the way to get GMOs out of our food supple with a good fight. They have more information about the dangers of GMOs and a great GMO faq's. For those who would like to keep GMOs out of your house, you can download IRT's FREE Non-GMO Shopping Guide... thanks to IRT and their partners! You can thank them for making that shopping guide by giving a donation to support their campaign.

Look at the delicious dark chocolate! Can you smell it? Take it!

Seriously, reach out with your hand and take it out of your screen... just like we've all seen it on Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory movie. Technology has finally made it happen for real! You can now eat all the delicious food on the internet to your heart's delight... no, no studies have not been done yet BUT it is perfectly safe and the food still contains all the necessary nutrition to serve your body's daily need.

Yeah. Right. HA!

Anyway, we've enjoyed Green & Black's Dark Chocolates in the past and still do once in a while when we are in the states visiting. Find a store near you and pick some up today!

So, what is everybody doing for Valentine's? We are celebrating my Dad's birthday and I am planning to make a big carrot cake for him!

PS- For those who are interested... I copied and paste below Green & Black's Fair Trade announcement that was send to me. Enjoy!


Parsippany, NJ (January 27, 2010) Pioneering organic chocolate maker Green & Black’s today announces its commitment to move its entire chocolate range, worldwide, to Fair Trade – including the United States. Fifteen years ago Green & Black’s led the Fair Trade movement by launching Maya Gold® – the first ever Fair Trade Certified™ product in the United Kingdom. In the United States, Green & Black’s is the number one chocolate in the Natural channel . Green & Black’s entire range is already organic, and thanks to continued expansion around the world, this move will make Green & Black’s the world’s leader in organic and Fair Trade chocolate.

Fair Trade is a unique independent system providing farmers with the security of fair prices for their produce and additional investment through the Fair Trade premium for social, environmental and economic development in their communities. The Fair Trade premium is in addition to a guaranteed minimum price for fair trade certified ingredients.

Today’s commitment will mean an investment of more than $485,000 each year over the next 10 years through additional Fair Trade premiums paid to Dominican Republic cocoa farmers and their communities. Green and Black’s has bought quality, organic Trinitario cocoa beans from cooperatives in the Dominican Republic over the last 10 years and these farmers are now the main source of cocoa for Green & Black’s.

“In that time we have committed $500,000 in local initiatives to improve quality and availability, but we wanted to do more to support our farmers,” says Dominic Lowe, Managing Director of Green & Black’s. “The move to Fair Trade certification is a key milestone in our relationship with the farmers that are so fundamental in the making of the best tasting, premium, organic, and now Fair Trade, chocolate you can buy.”

Paul Rice, President and CEO of TransFair USA comments “Green & Blacks’ 15-year history of sourcing Fair Trade Certified cocoa has made an impressive difference in the Belizean farming communities from which it sources, and we are thrilled with the company’s deepened commitment to ethical trading. This expansion will extend the benefits of Fair Trade to thousands of farmers in the Dominican Republic, empowering them to take care of their families, protect the environment and improve their communities.”

Mr. Santos Mendoza, president of CONACADO, a co-operative in the Dominican Republic where Green & Black’s sources most of its signature, fine and fermented Trinitario cocoa beans says of the move: “The great thing about Fair Trade is that it enables cocoa farmers and organisations like ours to have a say in shaping our future through directly talking and working with retailers and companies. Our biggest worry is ensuring that we have a guaranteed market for our cocoa that provides us with a long-term sustainable livelihood. Through the pricing structure and the Fair Trade premium we will be able to both invest in business and in our community to ensure a brighter future for our families and other farmers.”


Notes to editors:
• Green & Blacks chocolate bars in the U.S. are expected to start using Fair Trade Certified ingredients by mid 2010 with 100% of its U.S. chocolate range to be Fair Trade Certified and available to Americans by the end of this year. Packaging is expected to begin appearing with the FAIR TRADE mark by late 2010, once all current labels have been exhausted to avoid waste.

About Green and Black’s
Launched in London in 1991 by Craig Sams and Josephine Fairley, Green & Black’s entered the U.S. market in 2007 and has become the best selling chocolate in the natural food channel . The name reveals Green & Black’s key strengths – Green for sustainability and Black to symbolize the deep, rich, dark brown (almost black) color of the chocolate. Green & Black’s buys only the very best organic cocoa beans grown under the shade of indigenous rainforest trees and alongside other crops. All Green & Black’s products meet the National Organic Program (NOP) standards set by the USDA, thus giving consumers of organic products an assurance that the product is from a trusted source and matches the high standards of production. For more information, visit

Green & Black’s Chocolate Range in the United States:
• 3.5 oz Milk bar
• 3.5 oz Dark 70% bar
• 3.5 oz Dark 85% bar
• 3.5 oz Mint bar
• 3.5 oz Hazelnut & Currant bar
• 3.5 oz Cherry bar
• 3.5 oz White bar
• 3.5 oz Maya Gold® bar
• 3.5 oz Almond bar
• 3.5 oz Peanut bar
• 3.5 oz Toffee bar
• 3.5 oz Espresso bar
• 3.5 oz Ginger bar

• 1.2 oz Dark 70% bar
• 1.2 oz Milk bar

• 5.3 oz Baking Bar
• 4.4 oz Cocoa Powder
• 5.3 oz Hot Chocolate
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