Sunday, March 3, 2013

Organic and Fair Trade Chocolate Bars - The (Almost) Complete List of Brands in North America

The list below focuses on a very specific segment of the North American chocolate market. I have labelled it as "Organic and Fair Trade Chocolate Bars", which are sold in supermarkets, local grocery stores, health food stores and other retailers on a national level (i.e. all across Canada or the U.S., or both). They are usually 80 to 100 grams (3.5 oz) in size, but common packaging makes them all appear to be about the same size. If you are a chocoholic like me, you will know exactly what I am talking about.
 
The price range for chocolate bars in this segment is about $3 to $6 Canadian (and similarly in the U.S.) for a chocolate bar that is 80 to 100 grams, making it a premium price at the supermarkets and pharmacies. However, this is only a middle-to-upper range price within the entire chocolate market when compared to craft, single origin and premium-bean chocolate, where the price starts at about $5 for 50 grams and higher.

To learn more about this market and read an observational analysis of its growth trends and competitive behaviour, stay tuned for an upcoming article on this site.

If you are looking for a list of every chocolate bar that is either organic or Fair Trade in North America, unfortunately you have come to the wrong place. Numerous craft chocolate makers and large chocolate manufacturers have added an organic, Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance option to their product lists in recent years. Such a list would take me years to develop (I'm not saying that I won't do it one of these days, but just not today!).

What you will find below is a list of Organic and Fair Trade Chocolate bar brands in North America that I feel compete directly in the same market space. There may be other brands in America and other regions of Canada that I have not come across yet, so I will add to this list as I learn of them. These are the most common ones that I have seen in stores and that fit within the specific price range/product size that I outlined above.

List of Organic and Fair Trade Chocolate Brands (and their makers) in North America:


·         Alter Eco (San Francisco, CA) - Certified as both Organic and Fair Trade. I am IN LOVE with two of their chocolate bars: the 63% Dark Cacao with Nibs bar, where the nibs add that fruity, zesty and acidic flavour of unprocessed cacao in a chocolate that has a nice flavour to begin with. Also their 60% Dark Chocolate Quinoa bar – I finished it in less than a day! But since these bars are only 80 grams rather than 100, there is a little less guilt. The chocolate is also soy-lecithin free and listed as gluten free. Although Alter Eco is American, the chocolate is also available in Canada. http://www.alterecofoods.com/products/chocolate/dark-cacao

·         Camino by La Siembra Co-Operative (Ottawa, Canada) - Their 100 gram (3.5 oz) chocolate bar line-up includes three solid dark chocolate bars (a 55%, a 71% and an 80%) as well as flavoured dark chocolate bars like Espresso (my favourite), Coconut, Almond, Mint, Caramel Crunch and Raspberry. Camino’s milk chocolate bars include Milk Chocolate with Sea Salt and their really interesting 38% solid Milk Chocolate bar (this one is fun in chocolate tasting workshops to see who can identify hazelnut as Camino’s secret ingredient!). And Camino has just launched four new flavours in their 100 gram bar line: Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts, Butterscotch & Sea Salt Milk Chocolate (oh yum!), Ginger Dark Chocolate and a 65% Chili & Spice chocolate bar. In addition to being organic and Fair Trade, these chocolate bars have real ground vanilla beans, no soy lecithin and are gluten-free. http://www.lasiembra.com/camino/en/chocolate-bars)

·         Equal Exchange Co-Op (West Bridgewater, MA ) - Also a co-operative, I call the Equal Exchange brand the American version of Camino. With a similar product line-up, they offer a range of dark and milk chocolate bars in 100 gram (3.5 oz) sizes, including an Ecuadorian 65% dark bar, a 71% Very Dark bar, and flavours like Mint, Orange, Caramel Crunch & Sea Salt, Espresso and Almond as well as a Milk Chocolate bar. Also like Camino, the chocolate is both organic and fair trade, has real ground vanilla beans and no soy lecithin. Their chocolate is available at a variety of retailers throughout the U.S.A. (I have purchased their chocolate once in Canada but have not seen it since). http://www.equalexchange.coop/chocolate-bars

·         Green & Black’s is likely the most widely known organic and Fair Trade chocolate bar brand. Green & Black’s Maya Gold bar was the original Fair Trade bar made from organic cocoa beans from Belize. The recipe was based on a spiced cocoa drink made locally by the farmer's in Belize and it is still a best seller world-wide today. Green & Black's sells many other flavours, like the Cherry 60% dark chocolate bar and a White Chocolate bar with Madagascar vanilla and 30% cacao solids (one of the few organic and Fair Trade competitors to offer a white chocolate bar) and all their chocolate is made from chocolate is made from Trinitario and Criollo cacao (that’s the good stuff!). The company is now owned by Kraft Foods. www.greenandblacks.com

·         Mama Ganache Artisan Chocolates (San Luis Obispo, CA) www.mama-ganache.com They sell three flavours of certified organic and certified Fair Trade chocolate bars in 3.5 oz (100g) packages (Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and Dark Chocolate with Peppermint Crisp). These are 100% made in the U.S.A. and sales of these chocolate bars help the development of a Cocoa Study Centre in Cameroon. Mama Ganache also has a chocolate bar made from the bean, as well as filled chocolate bars that are also organic and Fair Trade (although at a higher price, above $7 per 100g/3.5oz)

·         Chocolove (Boulder, CO) www.chocolove.com They have 24 flavours in 90g (3.2oz) bars, and three of these are certified Organic and certified Fair Trade (by FairTradeUSA), including: a Cherries in Dark Chocolate bar, a Currants and Almonds in Dark Chocolate bar and a simple 73% Dark Chocolate bar. To ensure that you feel extra-good about your purchase, you will find a love poem inside the wrapper.

·         Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-Op (Wolfville, NS) Although this Eastern Canadian co-op got its beginnings in Fair Trade coffee, they opened a chocolate factory in Hantsport, Nova Scotia in 2005 and now sell a range of 100 gram organic chocolate bars, as well as 42 gram bars and 35 grams bars (check the product list here).

·         Zazubean Organic Chocolates (Vancouver, BC) www.zazubean.com Fair Trade certified and 100% organic, Zazubean makes dark chocolate from bean-to-bar with really unique and totally awesome flavours. Currently their chocolate is only available in Canada– check the store locator for a location near you: http://zazubean.com/store-locator/store_locator.php

·         Theo Chocolate(Seattle, WA) http://www.theochocolate.com Founder, Joe Whinney pioneered the supply of organic cocoa beans into the U.S. in 1994. ECI Vanilla Nib 65% Dark Chocolate bar and Pili Pili Chili 65% Dark Chocolate bar are Organic and Fair Trade Certified by IMO. All their bars are organic and Fair Trade certified and the beans are sourced from farms in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Peru. Products are now offered at more than 4,000 retail outlets across the U.S.A. They are also a bean-to-bar chocolate company.

·         Endangered Species (Indianapolis, IN) www.chocolatebar.com Endangered Species has a slightly different spin on their certified organic chocolate. They focus on protecting the species within the Rainforests where cocoa beans grow and they educate their chocolate-eating consumers by providing information about particular types of endangered species on the inside of the chocolate bar wrappings. Although they do not list "certified Fair Trade" on the label, they are Rainforest Alliance certified and state that farmer's are paid fairly. They have a range of five organic chocolate bars in a 3 oz size.

·         Newman's Own Organics (Connecticut, U.S.A.) www.newmansownorganics.com sells a series of chocolate bars that are organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified (not listed as "Fair Trade" specifically). They offer six flavours in both 3.25 oz and 2.25 oz sized packages. You can find more information on their flavours, ingredients and nutritional information here. You can find Newman's Own Organics at a variety of retailers all through the U.S.A., check here for a retailer near you.


 

If you know of a widely sold Fair Trade and Organic chocolate bar in North America that should be on this list, please add it to the Comments below and I will check it out and add it to the list! But first, see below for more chocolate bars that 'almost' made the list.

 
Fair Trade, Organic or Rainforest Alliance Only Chocolate Bars in North America:
Here are a few similar chocolate bars that compete for the same customers in the same market 'space' (i.e. similar packaging and product size, similar pricing, and a focus on Social Responsibility and Environmental Sustainability) but are not labelled as both Fair Trade and Organic:


Organic-Only Chocolate Bars:

·         Divine Chocolate (Washington, DC) Divine chocolate was started by a co-operative in Ghana that was known for ensuring fair prices to farmers. It has since invested its chocolate income into schools, water, medical clinics and other infrastructure that assists the farmers who grow the cacao. The chocolate bars are sold in the U.S. and the U.K., and in fact, I think I have purchased one in Canada. All of their ingredients are certified as Fair Trade. Although it did not make my above list because ingredients are not also listed as 'organic', it does compete direclty within the same market space as it is $3.99 per 3.5 oz/100 gram bar (according to Divine's U.S.A. shop online site).

·         PC Organics(TM) European Chocolate (Canada) www.presidentschoice.ca President's Choice 'Organics' brand includes organic 100 gram chocolate bars, including a 'European Extra Dark Chocolate' bar which is an 85% dark, a 70% 'European Dark', a 'European Milk Chocolate' bar and a milk chocolate with raisins and hazelnuts.

·         Dagoba Organic Chocolate (San Francisco, CA & Ashland, OR) www.dagobachocolate.com Dagoba is a brand of organic chocolate that is well-known in North America. It was purchased by Hershey's in 2006, so it is now more widely available. I might have included it in the listing above, but there are a few reasons why I placed it in the 'other' list: 1. The price is above the range outlined above. On Dagoba's website, the price is $3.45 (U.S.) for the 56 gram chocolate bars, which would place it just over the $6 mark. Also, it is not certified as Fair Trade, but rather Rainforest Alliance certified. They also purchase their beans directly from farmers in Peru, Tanzania and the Dominican Republic, and some consider direct trade to be better than Fair Trade. They also have organic chocolate bars for baking in 170 gram (6 oz) sizes, which you can learn more about here.

·         Trader Joe's Organic Chocolate Bars (U.S.A.) www.traderjoes.com In their numerous stores across the U.S.A., Trader Joe's sells two kinds of store-branded organic chocolate bars: a 73% Super Dark chocolate bar and the same dark bar with the addition of Almonds. Like Dagoba, this chocolate is organic, but not Fair Trade certified. Also, Trader Joe's has an affinity for beating out the competition on price, with a list price of only $1.99 (U.S.) per 3.5 oz (100g) bar.

·         Nativa™ Organics Chocolate (Shopper's Drug Mart, Canada-wide)- This is a Shopper's Drug Mart brand that is a part of their organic product line, Nativa™. There is very little online information about this product, other than a blog article that I have written and a blurry image on the Shopper's website. Although not listed as Fair Trade, these chocolate bars are clearly designed to compete within the Organic and Fair Trade market space. The chocolate bars are 100 grams and come in three flavours: milk, milk with hazelnut and dark chocolate.
 

Fair Trade-Only Chocolate Bars:

·         President's Choice Fair Trade Chocolate (Canada) www.presidentschoice.ca The PC brand offers two chocolate bars that are Fair Trade Certified by Transfair Canada, including a 100 gram 70% Dark Chocolate bar made from Peruvian cocoa beans and a 100 gram Fair Trade Milk Chocolate Bar made from cocoa beans of Ecuador. These are sold at all grocery stores that sell President's Choice products (Loblaws, Superstore, Valumart) all across Canada. 

 
Rainforest Alliance-Only Chocolate Bars:

·         Bissinger's (St. Louis, MO) - www.bissingers.com Bissinger's sell a range of 3.5 oz (99 gram) bars that are Rainforest Alliance Certified, which promotes the maintenance of eco-systems and sustainable farming. They promote their chocolate as being European but using 100% African Beans for a "Richer Chocolate Taste". I find their dark chocolate (Bissinger's 60% and 75% chocolate bar) tastes very similar to many commercially sold 60% to 80% chocolate bars that are 100 gram (3.5 oz) in size, such as Lindt, Godiva, and President's Choice's 60% to 80% dark chocolate bars, made from mixed Forasterro beans and strong vanilla extract flavour. I liked their 38% Milk Chocolate Bar very much. Their chocolate is labelled as "All Natural" as well as "Gluten-Free".



Lisabeth's Disclaimer:

The list above and market analysis is based solely on my observation of the market from a highly-engaged consumer's perspective for the last 10 years, as well as complementary market research. I have a natural need to analyze market space, since I have a whole lot of experience in competitive research and analysis from my former career in marketing and degrees in business marketing. In order to understand any market space, I always need to know who all the players are and develop lists of them, their prices, their ingredients and their marketing messages in order to learn more about the competitive behaviours within it.

So if you have concerns with my above analysis of the market, please do add your concerns or suggested modifications to the Comments below. I am always open to learning more about chocolate!

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