Our favourite treat isn’t always as sweet as it makes out. Here’s everything you need to know about ethical chocolate – and the delicious brands doing things differently

Ethical chocolate. REALLY?

Are we really going to tell you that not all chocolate was created ethical and take away this tiny bit of happiness we all have each day?

We probably already have enough guilt over the sugar content. The plastic wrapper. The fact that we bought a family size bar with the intention of just eating a little bit at a time…

Well, yes we are.

But we’re going to give it back, too – we promise.

And not only, that but we’re going to double, triple your pleasure – and take away any guilt.

In fact, did you know eating chocolate can actually make the world a better place? And we’re not just talking about our world, when we scoff that moreish sweetness. But the whole world.

So how is chocolate unethical?

Chocolate production is, outrageously, linked to poverty and exploitation. More than 60% of the world’s cocoa is produced in Ghana and the Ivory Coast in West Africa.

There male farmers earn on average 75p a day and female farmers earn an average of 23p a day, according to the Fairtrade Foundation. This is below the extreme poverty line.

Around 2.1 million children are forced to work in illegal conditions because their parents don’t earn enough money, reports Tony’s Chocolonely. They also reveal that up to 30,000 people are the victims of modern slavery, forced to grow cocoa for no money at all.

Meanwhile the likes of Nestlé recorded profits of around £10 billion last year. Is Nestlé ethical? Is Mars ethical? Is Cadbury’s ethical?

The figures suggest their chocolate is not so sweet after all. But what can we do about it?

Well, clearly, we need government legislation to make these companies take responsibility for their exploitation.

But in the meantime, we can choose to only buy chocolate from brands that are working to change the system from the inside. Who are not only improving the supply-chain, but the quality and taste of chocolate as well. It’s literally a win, win, win.

Here’s some of our favourites, the first two are brands we know quite a lot about. The others are ones who are on our radar, but we’re still to speak with directly:

8 ethical chocolate brands to buy

Tony's Chocolonely | The Ghana bar

Tony’s Chocolonely

Once you’ve tried chocolate from Tony’s Chocolonely, you’ll wonder two things. One, why the hell it has only just come into your life? Two, what kind of cr*p pretending to be chocolate have you been eating all these years!?

It’s chunky. It’s sweet. It’s satisfying. It comes in flavours like white raspberry popping candy, milk chocolate almond honey nougat, dark milk pretzel toffee. Mmmmmhm.

They entered the market with bold flavours, bold packaging, and a bold mission – to make the chocolate industry 100% slave-free. The one, admittedly small, ask we have of Tony’s is that their milk becomes organic. The dairy industry can be even worse in terms of welfare than the beef industry. But they do offer delicious dark, vegan-friendly bars of chocolate if you care about that, too.

tonyschocolonely.com

Divine Chocolate | organic gift set

Divine

Divine‘s chocoloate is crunchy, long lasting. impactful.

The most incredible thing about Divine Chocolate is has been championing farmers for more than 20 years. It is co-owned by the 85,000 farmer members of Kuapa Kokoo, a cooperative in Ghana that supplies the cocoa and .

Divine chocolate is suitable for vegetarians and most dark products are suitable for vegans. They are predominantly palm oil free and have organic and vegan ranges that offer flavours including ginger and turmeric, refreshing lemon, and blueberry and popped quinoa.

divinechocolate.com

Chocolate & Love

This brand is both Fairtrade and organic. Win-win.

chocolateandlove.com

Cocoa Loco

Also Fairtrade and organic, these bars are made with beans from the Dominican Republic.

cocoaloco.com

Seed & Bean

Ditto, plus wild flavours. What’s not to love?

seedandbean.co.uk

Montezuma’s

The founders’ dream is to become “Britain’s Greatest Little Chocolate Company.” Watch this space.

montezumas.co.uk

Eat Your Hat

They claim to make ridiculously delicious things out of ethical ingredients that make people happier and keep the environment in good shape. We can confirm their chocolate is ridiculously delicious.

eatyourhat.com

Land

Award-winning bean to bar chocolate made in the heart of Hackney, London. The branding is as smooth as their chocolate.

landchocolate.com