fair trade chocolate

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When you have an unrelenting sweet tooth and constantly daydream about biting into a creamy chocolate bar, the labels and seals may go unnoticed. While taste certainly matters, the environmental working conditions of cacao farmers are just as meaningful, which is why a fair trade seal holds so much power.

The fair trade seal not only ensures a safer working environment, but it completely prioritizes the livelihood of farmers through a community development fund, allowing the cacao infrastructure to work like a well-oiled machine. Additionally, child labor is prohibited and enforced through frequent inspections, farmers’ wages must meet a minimum threshold despite economic turbulence, and the use of GMOs and chemicals on crops is absolutely banned. It checks the boxes on the most critical societal, environmental, and economical standards.

Basically, instead of only savoring sensational chocolate at the consumer level, buying fair trade signals that you care about the entire production process. It entails placing people and the planet above all else. With countless chocolate brands transitioning in this direction, we’ve compiled a list of the very best fair trade chocolate you can snag at this moment.

Endangered Species

endangered species dark chocolate

Delicately stamped with a majestic elephant on vibrant packaging, Endangered Species is a fair trade chocolate brand committed to having a beneficial influence on habitat, humanity, and species around the world. It stands proudly behind independent farmers in West Africa and donates 10% of its net profit to impactful organizations, ultimately supporting conservation efforts. The CEO Curt Vander Meer explains how the company aims to improve conditions for chocolate producers and the surrounding communities. He notes, "With our partners, practices, and impact, we are proud of our role in helping shape a brighter tomorrow."

For the experimental chocolate devotee, Endangered Species will always keep your taste buds wanting more. The wide variety of chocolate ranges from oat milk mixed berries + dark chocolate and forest mint + dark chocolate to fudgy peanut butter + milk chocolate. With chocolate bars, single-serve, baking chips, and variety pack options, any chocolate lover will be satisfied. Every ingredient is chosen intentionally and responsibly sourced, and no artificial components are included. Endangered Species is certainly raising conventional chocolate to new heights.

Hu

Hu salty dark chocolate

As the name hints, Hu’s motto is "Get back to human," focusing on people all over. The company only sources ingredients that support overall wellness, including immunity, gut health, and inflammation. Each decadent, truffle-like chocolate bar is assembled for an unbeatable taste, yet made with ultra-simple ingredients. Hu pledges to only use certified fair trade cocoa and cocoa butter, which happens to be USDA certified organic too.

As far as the range of flavors, hazelnut butter and salty dark chocolate are top sellers, though cashew butter + pure vanilla bean dark chocolate wins the victory prize according to Refinery29, describing it as the "ideal balance of salty-sweet." None of the products contain dairy, palm oil, cane sugar, or cane alcohols, and they are completely vegan as well. If you’re looking for a quintessential, velvety-smooth snack or nightcap indulgence, Hu has got you covered.

"This is my favorite dark chocolate and vegan chocolate bar in the U.S. I absolutely love it. It’s not bitter, and the saltiness of the cashew butter really hits the spot when combined with the dark chocolate," said one verified buyer.

Theo

Theo dark chocolate

Upholding a transparent mission to serve everyone involved in the bean-to-bar process, Theo not only aims to include fair trade ingredients but also models this honesty in its deep-seated infrastructure. The entire Seattle facility is audited each year by a third party to ensure wages, working conditions, and everything in between is up to par with its gold standards. Along with paying farmers livable wages, Theo pays an additional premium to secure the highest quality of beans, sourcing them from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

With a plethora of traditional and limited-edition flavors checking off the organic, fair trade, soy-free, kosher, vegan, and gluten-free boxes, you might feel yourself falling into a chocolate coma. However, most consumers agree that you can’t go wrong with the sea salt 70% dark chocolate bar, which would pair well with a smooth Pinot Noir. As a matter of fact, the flavors are all so robust that you only need to munch on a square or two to satiate your sweet tooth.

"It is so hard to find a dairy-free chocolate. This was beyond my expectations. The chocolate is delicious but the sea salt takes it over the top. I just received it last week and I’ve already placed another order as I don’t want to be without it! You can’t go wrong. Order more than one," said one satisfied Amazon customer.

Lily’s Sweets

Lily's variety of chocolate

With true altruistic roots planted back in 2010, Lily’s mission is to produce non-GMO, gluten-free, and fair trade chocolate without any processed sugars. A portion of profits is given to non-profit organizations that help children with life-threatening diseases. It’s safe to say, the owners of Lily’s aim to spread a little more sweetness into every corner of the world, even outside of premium chocolate bars.

When it comes to the spectrum of flavors, dark chocolate enthusiasts can opt for the crispy rice bar — essentially puffed rice coated in chocolate, containing 55% cacao. Meanwhile, milk chocolate lovers are bound to adore the salted almond bar, layered with sweetness and an approachable crunch. With over 77% 5-star Amazon reviews, you can’t go wrong with this decadent delight.

"I’m a keto person and whenever I’m craving some chocolate I always go for Lily’s. It’s honestly the best tasting chocolate and it ruins you for the crappy candy bars that you can buy in the gas station (and those are loaded with sugar). I think the quality of chocolate is exceptional," said a verified Amazon buyer.

Equal Exchange

Equal Exchange Chocolate

If there’s one brand that lives by equitable, long-term trade partnerships between farmers and consumers, it’s Equal Exchange. The company’s operations jump-started back in 1986, importing fair trade coffee from Nicaragua. To no surprise, business skyrocketed simply due to the efforts in maintaining value at each part of the supply chain.

Now, with expansion in other categories and over 13 chocolate options to choose from, you’re always bound to bite into quality. Every bar is also vegan, soy, and gluten-free. The cacao itself is sourced primarily from Latin America, but Equal Exchange recently forged strong ties with small farmers and organizations in West Africa as well.

The organic chocolate with coconut milk bar is a crowd favorite, harmoniously mixing coconut sugar and coconut milk — a prime option for anyone with dairy restrictions. "This is creamier than most of the chocolate I have tried. My son is vegan and this is one of his favorite chocolates. I love the mild coconut flavor. Wonderful easy ordering process," said verified buyer Linda M. You also can’t go wrong with the organic Panama extra dark chocolate, made with pure Panamanian beans, consisting of 80% cacao. Customers mention it’s as smooth and rich as dark chocolate comes.

Alter Eco

Alter Eco chocolate

With an ethos centered around bringing green snacks from soil to shelf, Alter Eco’s process aims to reverse climate change and give power back to farmers. By encouraging regenerative farming, the cacao quality is in a league of its own. Since the soil isn’t compromised with unnecessary chemicals, a variety of crops can fuel the livelihood of the farmers, creating a more synergistic ecosystem.

Every single Alter Eco chocolate bar is organic and no soy ingredients or GMOs are used. Most fans will point to Super Blackout as a favorite; comprising 90% cacao, it takes the definition of rich to a whole new level. Its melt-in-your-mouth qualities stem from the maltiness of Ecuadorian cacao, intentionally paired with the fruity notes of its Dominican cousin. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised by a soft touch of Madagascar vanilla. "My absolute favorite dark chocolate. High quality, rich and perfect. Worth every penny for the indulgence — and I love that you can subscribe to a pre-set delivery schedule so my stock never runs too low," one enthusiastic consumer raved about the Super Blackout.

According to Spoon University, Alter Eco also carries a suite of decadent, sustainably sourced truffles that you can’t miss out on either, including salted caramel, mint crème, and sea salt. All have a well-balanced flavor and sweetness. It’s safe to say if you’re looking for boundless options, this is one chocolate brand you can’t miss.

Tony’s Chocolonely

Tony's Chocolonely

Tony’s doesn’t only care about producing sensational chocolate for its consumers. Its main vision is to produce slave-free, fair trade chocolate that breaks systemic supply chain issues. The company poignantly recognizes that farmers are undervalued, ultimately leading to more havoc such as illegal child labor and slavery, which are still very prevalent in West Africa. Tony’s is driving awareness and education to ultimately break this appalling cycle.

Now if you head into Tony’s online chocoshop, the packaging might inspire visions of exuberant carnivals with bright flashy colors. You’ll be graced with an array of options from big and small chocolate bars to exclusively vegan options. Ask anyone who knows this brand well — it’s hard to choose just one flavor, so it’s probably best to opt for the bright and cheery Rainbow tasting pack. You can try all the classic flavors on the milk and dark chocolate spectrum and even spread Tony’s infectious love to family and friends.

Green & Black’s

Green & Black's chocolate

The first-ever UK-based chocolate sporting the fair trade seal came directly from Green & Black’s back in 1994. It was called Maya Gold and combined dark chocolate with ribbons of sweet orange and spices to capture the essence of a classic drink from Belize. This delicacy equally encompasses the classy nature of the brand itself, which places organic, fair trade, and sustainably-sourced products at the forefront of its mission. At the end of the day, Green & Black’s vies to bring you a taste of nature, cultivating fresh ingredients that generate only the best-tasting chocolate.

Meanwhile, the brand’s 85% dark chocolate has such a robust flavor, you might not try anything else after your first taste. "It’s the crowning glory of dark chocolate. Creamy, lightly sweet. Not sour. Not chalky. Not waxy. This chocolate will disappoint sugar babies. It’s for people who eat so little sugar that a small amount goes a long way and the standard amount of sweetening is overwhelming. […] You think of yourself as a connoisseur? This is for you," one Amazon buyer wrote.

Divine Chocolate

Divine Chocolate

With a purely altruistic business model that puts farmers and producers first, it’s no wonder Divine Chocolate is one of the leading fair trade chocolate brands in the world. The company partners with Kuapa Kokoo Farmers’ Union, a cooperative in Ghana consisting of 100,000 cocoa farmers, incentivizing them to maintain quality crops with a true ownership stake in the business. Actually, Divine Chocolate is the only fair trade chocolate company co-owned by the farmers themselves. The brand also started the Chocolate Revolution with the aim to end cocoa farmer exploitation and child labor.

When it comes to flavor options, Divine tends to do dark the best. Its 85% dark chocolate bar is made with minimal ingredients including cocoa mass, cocoa butter, sugar, and cocoa powder, all complying with fair trade standards. If you’re feeling a bit daring, try the dark chocolate with mint crisp which is sure to be a refreshingly cool treat on a sweltering summer day.

Beyond Good

Beyond Good chocolate

Ever wonder what chocolate from Madagascar tastes like? Beyond Good makes its single-origin chocolate primarily in this region, partnering with local farmers and employing local Malagasy people at its own chocolate factory. Structuring a completely transparent supply chain, Beyond Good doesn’t work with the middlemen only concerned with profit. The company works directly with 93 farmers to bring world-class, fair trade, bean-to-bar chocolate to consumer taste buds.

Beyond Good also keeps a tight pulse on consumer preferences, playing to dark chocolate dreams with 73% cocoa bars with flavors like crispy rice, showcasing almond, vanilla, and apricot aromas, as well as orange zest, a citrus-forward option that is bound to brighten up your day. If you want to jump full force into the dark chocolate arena, you can snag the dark chocolate inclusions set, perfectly fit for any cacao queen or king.

"A couple of squares a day of this delicious ethically sourced dark chocolate, so satisfying, and healthy. Love the daily dose of iron, flavanols, and polyphenols. Food is medicine and Beyond Good Chocolate is just what the doctor ordered," said one Amazon reviewer.

Unreal

Unreal dark chocolate coconut

If you’re a proclaimed Target shopper, chances are you’ve seen Unreal in the sweets aisle. Not only is this chocolate completely fair trade, but you won’t find a trace of icky artificial ingredients, chemicals, dyes, or excess sugar. You might think by the taste that it’s too good to be true, but the facts are real. Every product is completely organic, sustainable, and non-GMO too.

Among the most popular treats in the Unreal lineup are the dark chocolate coconut bars, made with minimal ingredients including coconut, cassava syrup, and fair trade dark chocolate. With over 5,000 ratings on Amazon, this one might be the ultimate guilt-free sweet treat. If you’re in the mood for something a bit nuttier, the dark chocolate peanut butter cups are a healthier Reese’s option and only contain pure ingredients like cocoa butter and organic peanut flour. "These are unbelievably tasty. Individually wrapped, a bit smaller than the more well-known brand. Totally vegan! Amazingly creamy peanut butter center," according to an Amazon review.

Chuao Chocolatier

Chuao Chocolatier variety

If you’re on the hunt for small-batch chocolate infused with joy and the highest quality sustainably-sourced ingredients, Chuao promises to deliver. Every product consists of a combination of fair trade chocolate, offering one-of-a-kind flavors designed in a kitchen instead of a lab (via Chuao). Every recipe follows European chocolate-making methods, and as a bonus, you’ll never find a trace of chemicals, additives, or artificial preservatives either.

With Chuao, be prepared to experiment with wild flavor combos that will take you for an electric culinary ride. Baconluxious chocolate yields notes of bonfire smoked sea salt and maple. If you’re a fan of churros, Cheeky Cheeky Churro tastes like the real deal, emitting intense notes of cinnamon with a slight crunch. Whatever Chuao flavor you choose, you’re in for a real treat.

"Chuao Chocolatier has some of the most innovative flavored bars! The new Totally Tangy Mango is my new favorite bar. The mango adds texture and tanginess, and is perfectly distributed throughout the bar. I can’t wait for my next Totally Tangy Mango," one Facebook reviewer raved.

Taza Chocolate

Taza hazelnut butter and raspberry nib

Ever heard of stone ground chocolate? This method of production is what Taza Chocolate does best, making it different from other chocolate brands on the market. Since chocolate has such a dynamic flavor, Taza found that the best way to release the aromas was by grinding organic cacao beans into minimally pressed chocolate, creating a completely new texture. This entire process is completed without the use of middlemen or child labor, ensuring a completely transparent supply chain and direct partnerships with farmers.

When it comes to variety, Taza offers a slew of choices including chocolate bars, discs, and snacks, offering rare flavor combinations that any cacao lover will appreciate. If you prefer your chocolate with a bit of a crunch, try the new Wicked Dark with almonds. Brace yourself for an intense punch of fruity chocolate in tandem with a roasted nuttiness that will catapult you to a new cacao universe. A perfect gift option is Taza’s Mexican-Style chocolate sampler, filled with eight bright and bold chocolate discs, with flavors ranging from chipotle chili to coffee and cinnamon.

Navitas

Navitas chocolate nibs

If you’re not looking for a fair trade chocolate bar but want a slight sprinkle of sweetness on top of an acai bowl, smoothie, or even in your baked goods, then Navitas organic cacao nibs serve this purpose with ease. They’re loaded with all the good stuff too, including rich antioxidants, fiber, and minerals. The ingredient list is also refreshingly simple and only consists of one ingredient: Theobroma cacao. Navitas promises that its decadent cacao nibs are minimally processed without added sugar. On top of being fair trade, these little nuggets are 100% organic, kosher, non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan.

"These crunchy morsels are fantastic as toppings, or mixed with fruit smoothies, or even as a small handful on their own. I love that they are not sweet, more of a cross between bittersweet chocolate and coffee. Adds a crunchy kick to a variety of salads. Delicious," one verified buyer wrote.

Dr. Bronner’s

Dr. Bronners magic all-one chocolate

Dr. Bronner’s is known for its killer organic soap that makes any surface squeaky clean. This time, the brand has chosen to master something a bit more edible and equitable. Just imagine a world where reputable Swiss chocolate and fair trade practices merge together. This is exactly how Dr. Bronner’s came to invent Magic All-One chocolate bars, representing both the planet and farmers. In fact, the company actively partners with over 800 farmers as part of its Regenerative Organic Certified™ Serendipalm project, ensuring these standards are implemented across the board.

Every single bar is 100% vegan, 70% cacao, and only sweetened with coconut sugar. With an array of classic flavors, you can’t go wrong. if you need to pick just one, the salted dark chocolate is a favorite, with a subtle saltiness that amplifies the dried fruit and sweet caramel undertones of the cocoa. If you’re looking for something a bit nuttier, try the crunchy hazelnut butter or smooth coconut praline bar for a blast of creamy goodness.

Seed and Bean

Seed and Bean chocolate bars

If you’re looking for chocolate with a distinctly wild side, then you’ve found your match with Seed and Bean. The company originally came to the chocolate table with a unique product made by coating assorted seeds and beans with chocolate for fair trade confections that stood out. Since then, the products have branched out and a wide assortment of chocolate bars are available. Each product is 100% organic and sustainably sourced in England, and the company only works with small-scale suppliers who also maintain ethical practices.

With over 18 adventurous limited edition and flagship chocolate flavors, there’s a product for everyone. Some of the most popular include Sicilian hazelnut & almond milk chocolate and coffee espresso dark chocolate. You can even opt to try Seed and Bean’s complete collection bundle to try all of the flavors on offer. "Really enjoying my Seed and Bean Wild Bundle. The order process was quick and easy and my order arrived much quicker than I expected. My favorite flavors at the moment are lemon & cardamom dark chocolate and the orange & thyme dark chocolate," one Facebook reviewer wrote.