Joining forces with our sister co-op in the US, also named Equal Exchange, we are very excited to bring you our new range of Organic fairly traded chocolate bars.

Our rich chocolate products are crafted using the best quality organic cacao (cocoa beans) from the Dominican Republic, Peru and Ecuador. We work with small-scale farmer co-operatives that cultivate this cacao using organic and environmentally sustainable methods.

By choosing our gorgeous chocolate bars you help provide small – scale farmers with the resources and opportunities they need to build a better future for their families and communities.

Our chocolate range

FAQS

Is your chocolate certified kosher?

They sure are.
Our chocolate bars are certified by Rabbi Abraham Hochwald, Chief Rabbi of the Northern Rhine-Germany.

To request a copy of the Kosher certificates, please e-mail customer service at info@equalexchange.co.uk

What makes fair trade chocolate different?

We source our cacao exclusively from small-scale farmer co-ops in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Peru. The farmers own their land and control their livelihoods. As co-op members, together they choose how to invest Fair Trade premiums in their communities, such as installing wells for drinking water, a nursery for cacao plants, or a new school. For an industry traditionally rooted in exploitation – and a reliance on child slave labor – this is a big feat.

In 2000 and 2001, journalists documented the continued practice of forced child labor in the West African cocoa trade—source of 70% of the world’s cocoa. Since the Ivory Coast in West Africa alone produces 40% of the world’s cocoa, its beans are mixed into almost every brand of mass-produced chocolate. Yet, corporations of the global cocoa/chocolate trade – companies like Hershey’s, Mars, Nestlé, Russell Stover, Cargill, and ADM – have done little to address this problem.

Most cocoa on the world market is bought “blind” through importers and brokers, but Equal Exchange’s fairly traded cocoa is monitored – from the farmers to the store shelf – by independent, non-profit, certifying organizations that guarantee that the cocoa was produced and traded in a socially responsible manner, specifically that:

International Labor Organization Conventions 29, 105 and 138 on child labor and forced labor are adhered to.

the cocoa was bought directly from a democratically controlled co-operative of small scale farmers. This helps them gain more control of their livelihoods and ensures farmers a higher percentage of cocoa export revenues.

Who are the farmers?

We source from small farmer organisations because we believe they are the heart and soul of the Fair Trade movement.

Through partnership with co-ops, small-scale farmers gain crucial market access they wouldn’t have otherwise. The co-ops are democratically run by the farmers, so that together they decide how to invest in their communities. When they work together as a co-op, they become owners of a business. They have economic and political control over their lives. They have access to quality trainings and processing equipment. And, they can positively influence their communities by investing in school supplies, women’s programs, clean drinking wells, or other social development projects.

The cacao in our 100g bars is grown with care by small-scale farmer co-operatives in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Peru. The sugar and vanilla are also fairly traded and organic. The sugar comes from small-scale farmer co-ops in Paraguay and the vanilla from a co-op in Madagascar.

Is your chocolate vegan, soy-free, gluten-free?

We are proud to offer a range of vegan, soy-free and gluten-free options. Below is an overview of allergens by product type, but please take care to note the allergen statements on each individual product before purchasing.

100g Chocolate Bars

Our 100g chocolate bar line is crafted using only the purest ingredients. Our recipe starts simply with cacao beans, cane sugar and vanilla. These bars are soy-free and gluten-free*. All but two of the bars (Organic Milk Chocolate with a Hint of Hazelnut 38% and Organic Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt 55%) are also vegan.

*Our 100g bars do not contain gluten and do not share equipment with gluten. The only ingredient with gluten that is used in the whole facility are cereal crisps, which are isolated, only used in a specific product, and are inserted using a special tool at the end of that product’s production. Our manufacturer frequently tests for gluten, and ppm is always less than 5ppm.

What makes organic chocolate different?

The ingredients that go into our chocolate bars and cocoas are farmed sustainably, without harmful pesticides or fertilisers. This is better for farmers, the planet, and for your body.

Our farmer partners do not use synthetic chemicals for pest and weed control. This prevents harmful chemicals from entering the local ecosystem and water supply, which is also healthier for farmers and their families.

As an alternative, many farmers use organic material for making compost, use fertilisers and pesticides made of local and natural inputs, and use natural barriers, such as plants, to control water flow and prevent against erosion.

Many organic farmers also have diverse farms, meaning they plant a variety of cacao trees (which lowers the risk of disease), tall shade trees, and fruit and vegetable plants. This diversity allows for more diversity of wildlife as well as stronger protection against extreme weather, such as flooding and erosion.

What makes Equal Exchange chocolate different from other brands?

By choosing Equal Exchange chocolate and cocoa products, you support a company that: knows quality chocolate, supports small farmer co-ops through Fair Trade, supports organic farming practices and organic ingredients AND is worker-owned (let’s just say we’re unique).

Organic farming methods and ingredients

Our farmer partners use sustainable farming methods, without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. This prevents harmful chemicals from entering the local ecosystem and water supply, which is also healthier for farmers and their families. Many organic farmers have diverse farms, meaning they plant a variety of cacao trees, tall shade trees, and fruit and vegetable plants. This diversity allows for more diversity of wildlife as well as stronger protection against extreme weather.

Free of child slave labor

In the cocoa belt of West Africa’s Ivory Coast, it’s common to see young children holding machetes or pesticide equipment without protective gear. A report commissioned by the U.S. government found that more than 1.8 million children in West Africa were involved in growing cocoa. Ivory Coast produces 40% of the world’s cacao supply, and its beans make their way into most of the major chocolate brands you can find at mainstream grocery stores.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says hundreds of thousands of these children, many of them trafficked across country borders, are engaged in the worst forms of child labor. This includes slavery, human trafficking, abuse, and dangerous or hazardous conditions or materials (such as dangerous equipment or tools, exposure to pesticides, or being forced to perform unreasonably difficult tasks or long working hours). It also means they are prevented from going to school.

At Equal Exchange, we’re committed to sourcing fairly traded cocoa from small-scale farmers who are members of co-ops, in Latin America. Fair Trade ensures stable prices for farmers and upholds International Labor Organization (ILO) standards on child labor.

Fairly traded from co-ops

Our ingredients are grown with care by small-scale farmers in Latin America. Working as individuals, the farmers may struggle to access international markets and often receive below-market prices. But when they work together as a co-op, they become owners of a business. They have economic and political control over their lives. They have access to quality trainings and processing equipment. And, they can positively influence their communities by investing in school supplies, women’s programs, clean drinking wells, or other social development projects.

For an industry traditionally rooted in exploitation – and a reliance on child slave labor – this is a big feat.

Most cocoa on the world market is bought “blind” through importers and brokers, but fairly traded cocoa is monitored – from the farmers to the store shelf – by independent, non-profit, certifying organizations that guarantee that the cocoa was produced and traded in a socially responsible manner, specifically that:

International Labor Organization Conventions 29, 105 and 138 on child labor and forced labor are adhered to.

the cocoa was bought directly from a democratically controlled co-operative of small scale farmers. This helps them to gain more control of their livelihoods and ensures farmers a higher percentage of cocoa export revenues.

A worker-owned company

Equal Exchange is a worker-owned co-op, which means our worker-owners (full-time, permanent employees) have a stake in the business. Each member, regardless of title or department, has one share and one vote. We strive for transparency, information sharing and open-book management. Collectively we own Equal Exchange and together we’re working toward a fairer trade model – and a better world.

What is the best way to store chocolate?

Equal Exchange chocolate is best stored in a cool, dry environment in an airtight container (to keep strong odors from impacting the flavour). The optimal conditions are temperatures between 15 – 18C degrees with a maximum humidity of 65 percent. Chocolate is susceptible to higher temperatures and humidity or major changes in temperature, which can cause chocolate to “bloom.” Bloom appears on the surface of chocolate as a white sheen, and it occurs when the fat (cocoa butter) separates from the other ingredients, or when sugar crystals form on the surface, often due to condensation. Bloom may look abnormal; however, the chocolate is still fine to eat, although it may have a slightly different texture or taste.

What is meant by cocoa content or percentage cocoa?

Many of the chocolate bars found in stores today have a cacao percentage on the label. This refers to the percentage of the bar (by weight) that is derived from the cacao bean.

The two main ingredients in a chocolate bar derived from the cacao bean are “chocolate liquor” (a.k.a. cocoa mass) and “cocoa butter.” For example, Equal Exchange’s Organic Very Dark Chocolate bar has a 71% cacao content. This means that 71% of the bar is chocolate liquor plus cocoa butter and 29% is other ingredients (e.g. sugar and vanilla).

Equal Exchange bars range from 38% cacao content (Organic Milk Chocolate with a Hint of Hazelnut) to 71% cacao content (Organic Very Dark Chocolate).

What does small farmer grown mean?

Equal Exchange sources from small farmer organisations because we believe they are the heart and soul of the Fair Trade movement.

Through partnership with co-ops, small-scale farmers gain crucial market access they wouldn’t have otherwise. The co-ops are democratically run by the farmers, so that together they decide how to invest in their communities. When they work together as a co-op, they become owners of a business. They have economic and political control over their lives. They have access to quality trainings and processing equipment. And, they can positively influence their communities by investing in school supplies, women’s programs, clean drinking wells, or other social development projects.

Equal Exchange has been engaged in this effort to change trade through supporting small-scale farmers since our founding in 1979. Fulfilling our mission means that as we grow and source ingredients from over 20 countries around the world, we seek out fairly traded ingredients from small-scale farmers who are members of co-operatives. That commitment is evident in our chocolates and cocoa, where not only the cacao is Fair Trade, but also our sugar and vanilla. Our goal is always 100% Fair Trade ingredients in our products, but when that isn’t possible due to the complexities of multi-ingredient products, we still maintain 70% or more Fair Trade content by weight for these products.

This is not the case for the majority of the chocolate market. The industry is increasingly consolidated, slow to move toward sustainable and socially responsible cacao, willing to sell products with as few certified ingredients in a recipe as possible, and plagued by the problem of unjust child labor. We are proud to support a small-scale farmer and co-op alternative. It’s been part of our core identity from the beginning, and continues to guide us moving forward.