When we set out to make a better candy bar, we knew the only place to start was with better ingredients, and for us, that meant using Organic and Fair Trade Certified® ingredients.
If there's one thing everyone can agree about, it's that candy bars are meant to be enjoyed. The rich chocolate, the crunch and the chew, these are all GOOD things, little everyday luxuries that almost anyone can indulge in. Unfortunately, these good things don't always come from good places, or as a result of good practices.
There’s a ton of information flying around about both Organic and Fair Trade, and sometimes it’s hard to cut through the clutter. Without claiming to be the final word on any of these issues, here’s why those two certifications matter to us:
Organic foods are better for the environment, reduce our reliance on petroleum, taste better, and may be more nutritious (depending on which study you believe). We particularly like that Organic foods are certified as grown without chemical pesticides, and don’t rely on petroleum-based fertilizers. We’re amazed at how much imported oil our country uses to grow food by conventional (or "natural") methods. So, even if you are unconvinced about the nutritional benefits of Organic food, I think most of us can agree that with the price of gasoline what it is, and the politics of oil what they are, the less petroleum and chemicals that go into our food, the better.
A lot of people are confused about the difference between Organic and "natural" or "all-natural". Organic foods meet a strict set of guidelines laid out by the USDA’s National Organic Standard’s Program. The only regulation of the term “natural” in food pertains to meat and eggs. So an “all-natural” candy bar can be made out of genetically modified ingredients that have been sprayed with pesticides and herbicides, and grown with chemical fertilizers. That doesn't sound too natural to us.
"Natural" can mean anything.
Here is a comparison of what it means to be USDA Organic versus "Natural".
When we were selecting chocolates for our bars, we read a lot of things about Fair Trade. Its promise to pay farmers a fair price for their crops, to certify that participating farms don’t use child or slave labor (a common practice on cocoa farms), and to deliver a higher quality product was very compelling. But we also know that it’s easy to overstate these sorts of issues for effect. So Angell bar co-founder Suzanne Angell traveled to Ghana to see if there was a real difference between Fair Trade and non-Fair Trade cocoa. Turns out, there is. The practice of using child and slave labor is actively banned on Fair Trade farms, and farmers are supplied tools like scales from Fair Trade cooperatives that help them ensure they receive fair prices for their harvest. For more information about Fair Trade Certified® cocoa, visit FairTrade USA.
Fair Trade vs. Conventional:
We make our bars to the highest standard of ingredient sourcing, which is why Certifications are so important. Unlike products that claim to be "natural" or "sustainable" these certification ensure that our products are not grown using petroleum-based fertilizers, and that the farmers who grow our cocoa beans get paid a premium, and undergo inspections to make sure that child and slave labor (both major problems in the cocoa industry) is not being used.
For us, truly enjoying a candy bar, or most other things for that matter, means not having to worry about where it came from or what harm resulted from its manufacture. It's nice to know that every delicious bite of an Angell Bar can be enjoyed guilt free. By choosing an Angell Bar, you are showing your support for more humane and responsible practices. We think that's the real natural choice, and one that is truly sustainable.
Why both Organic and Fair Trade?
You may have heard the argument that chocolate does not need to be organic, because so many cocoa farmers are too poor to buy fertilizers and pesticides anyway. As a result, their cocoa is de facto organic. Well, the cocoa farmer is not the only possible sprayer of harmful chemicals. Some countries sponsor mass spraying of cocoa farms. Also, pesticides are applied in warehouses before beans are shipped. Unfortunately, many of the pesticides used in cocoa-producing countries are Class 1, highly toxic, and banned in the US and Europe.
Cocoa farming is tough work. Cocoa trees are vulnerable to disease and require a lot of maintenance and nutrient replenishment, Fertilizers and pesticides really help a cocoa farmer improve his or her yield, In our experience, when you ask cocoa farmer what tools they need, fertilizers and pesticides are at or near the top of their list.
We at Jungell want cocoa farmers to earn a fair price for their labors, but we also believe that when cocoa farmers have access to funds that allow them to invest in improving the yield of their trees, they should use organic compliant fertilizers and pesticides, not conventional ones. Organic compliant fertilizers and pesticides are better for the environment, the health and pocketbook of the farmer, and for you. Jungell purchases only organic and fair-trade chocolate.