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How Ethical is Your Chocolate?

By GMB Nutritionist Melissa Fine

There’s more to a good chocolate than its cocoa percentage. Here’s what you’ll find in a chocolate that’s not just good for you, but for the bigger picture.

While you might savour a quality square (or two!) of dark chocolate each day, have you ever paused to think about its carbon footprint, or the impact it has on the cocoa farmers behind the product?

We know a lot of you love your chocolate as much as we do at GMB – so we thought we’d take a closer look at what it takes to be a ‘good’ chocolate.

Fairtrade Certification

By choosing a chocolate with the internationally recognised blue and green Fairtrade Mark, you can have reassurance that it will not only give you a pick-me-up – but others, too.

Take Bennetto’s Intense Dark Chocolate, where the first step of its production is in Acapagro, a Peruvian Fairtrade cooperative. Here the small-scale farmers behind the ingredients have income protection, and are receiving an education that ensures their yields are of consistent high quality to ensure ongoing demand. These farmers also gain extra ongoing support to improve their living standards, including free school uniforms for their children, and educational seminars to support ongoing personal development. A mindful chocolate indeed.

Organic Certification

Many people forget that the cocoa pod is a fruit…which means it may very well get sprayed with pesticides during cultivation.

Want your chocolate chemical-free? Here are some organic choccie brands that get our tick of approval

Bennetto Organic Intense (75%) Dark Chocolate 

We love the rich smooth flavour, from real Madagascar vanilla beans.

Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate 

Go for the 70% or 85% variety.

Pana Chocolate 

This stuff is raw, fudgey, organic, vegan AND handmade in Aus…need we say more?! Do yourself a favour and try the Fig & Orange flavour.

The Chocolate Yogi 

Popping up at more and more health food stores and even at supermarkets, this organic wholefood choccie just melts in your mouth. Try their Head in the Clouds ‘whyte chocolate’ for something different.


Ideally, you want your chocolate wrapped in packaging you can recycle – be it cardboard or paper. One that’s also carbon neutral is even better.

A High Cocoa Percentage

Although we said that there’s more to a good chocolate than its cocoa percentage, we do still think this is important – one reason being that the higher the cocoa percentage in your choccie, the higher its mood-boosting and brain-powering potential!

Cocoa or cacao comes from the cacao bean, which happens to be rich in ‘theobromine’ – an all-natural compound with the potential to improve mood and alertness. While theobromine is structurally similar to caffeine, it’s a gentler central nervous system stimulant, which means no jitters!

So vote with your wallet and choose the right kind of chocolate. And if you have a favourite ethical choccie brand, please share in the Comments!

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