I consider myself a chocolate lover, but some chocolate is worth loving more than others. There’s no reason to become righteous if we see someone indulging in a Hershey’s kiss, but there are far better ways to say “I love you” with chocolate at Valentine’s Day.
There are many options to choose from, but as always, consumer choices exist along a vast continuum of harm and health. At the lowest end of the spectrum, we have products full of artificial colors and chemicals, grown by slaves, child laborers, or exploited workers using unsustainable agricultural practices that cause situations like deforestation and erosion. These products are doing their comparatively small (or large, depending on your point of view) part in damaging our health and the environment, while creating immense human and animal suffering worldwide. At the other end, there are chocolates that do their part, at various levels of success and failure, to practice sustainable agriculture and promote economic justice in order to create products that are ultimately healthier for us to consume.
It seems that the more harmful a product is, the larger the quantity that is produced and the more it gets promoted at common retailers. To balance this effect, here is a chart of brands and flavors at the less-harmful, more-healthful end of the spectrum for you to try this Valentine’s Day! There are many more flavors, shapes, and brands available than those listed here. For example, Endangered Species and ChocoLove chocolate bars are better than the average choice, but still source their chocolate from the Ivory Coast and are not guaranteed to be slavery-free, according to the Food Empowerment Project. Brands like Hershey’s, Mars, and Nestle are playing catch-up and all are in the (lengthy) process of gathering certifications that other yummy brands already have. I don’t know about you, but I’m going for the vegan lavender truffles! Or maybe the cherry hearts…
Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups*^
*Vegan options available
^Allergen-free options available
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