Eat With Your Dollars: Chocolate

Posted by Vani Hari on Mon, Jun 4, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Oh the joys of a piece of chocolate ... so delicious, so simple, yet so complicated.

Milk, dark, white, bittersweet, semisweet, 50%, 60%, 87% cacao, or raw? What do you choose?


Let me help make the decision easy for you. After all, your choice has a profound impact on your health, the environment and social economics. Look for "Organic" and "Fair Trade" the next time that chocolate craving hits and here's why:

* Chocolate usually contains dairy, which means that unless it's organic chocolate, you are likely consuming milk from cows that have been conventionally raised with antibiotics and growth hormones.

* It's really hard to find a chocolate these days without the ingredient "soy lecithin," which helps keep chocolate smooth and together. Soy unfortunately is one of the biggest known crops to be genetically modified. Even the sugar chocolate contains can be genetically modified! Organic chocolate by definition cannot contain genetically modified ingredients. And if you don't know why you should avoid genetically modified food, get caught up and check out the resources on Just

* You will lessen your exposure to pesticides. The cocoa bean, from which chocolate is produced, is one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the world. Several pesticides the EPA has allowed for use in chocolate production have been found to show adverse reactions in animals and are considered toxic to human beings.

* Choosing fair trade chocolate is a way for you to vote against child slavery, unsafe working conditions and cycle of poverty that conventional cocoa suppliers allow.

* Hershey's and M&M/Mars alone control two-thirds of the $13 billion U.S. chocolate candy market and are not held accountable for unethical labor practices, despite their knowledge and awareness of the problems. If enough people start buying fair trade chocolate, maybe these companies will start to support fair trade practices and finally be held accountable.

So what's my favorite Eat With Your Dollars chocolate right now? I picked up this beauty. It tastes just like a crunch bar (but better) at Earth Fare last weekend. And yep, you guessed it ... every bite of that organic and fair trade chocolate is already gone!


A management consultant by day and food activist blogger by night, Vani Hari has been featured here on CL's 2012 Lust List, the Charlotte Observer, and the New York Times. She has made it her mission to spread as much information about what is in food as well as how to make the right purchasing decisions at the grocery store and how to live an organic lifestyle on her blog

Comments (11)

Showing 1-11 of 11

This has been on my mind lately, thanks for doing a post on it! Who doesn't love chocolate??

I used to wonder why anyone would pay for organic or free trade chocolate, and then I got wise to why and I can't ever look at M&Ms or kisses or anything else the same way anymore (which is a good thing, of course). Thanks for helping spread the message!

Is the Alter Eco free of soy lecithin? I can't find the ingredients list on their website, but I'll look for that bar next time I shop at my local green grocer.

Also, previously you have recommended the Green & Black white chocolate bar, but it contains soy lecithin. This post on food renegade has me thinking that's not an okay ingredient, even in organic chocolate:

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Posted by Cady on 06/04/2012 at 2:33 PM

Hi Cady - Thanks for keeping us all on our toes and getting into the details... I don't think you need to worry about Green & Blacks, it is on several Non-GMO Shopping guides out there. However, you've got my curiosity going and I will try to find out from them if this is 100% correct. The UK company was bought by Kraft a few years ago, and who knows - they could have changed the formula.

And the Alter Eco chocolate does not contain Soy Lecithin and is certified Non-GMO as well. Here are the ingredients, in case you want to know! Cocoa Mass, Cane Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Rice-Quinoa Crisps.

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Posted by Food Babe on 06/04/2012 at 3:09 PM

I SO wish we had an Earth Fare where I live! We have pretty good health sections in the super markets and Trader Joes but the closet Whole Foods is an hour or more away :(. I am glad to say though that through working on habit #2, yesterday I chose to eat a Hershey's Kiss that was on the counter, didn't really even want it but ate it anyway. As soon as I put it in my mouth it tasted horrible and a few months ago I could have eaten a whole bag! I really love Theo organic, ft dark orange chocolate. And even better I just looked and it is made locally!! Yay for that!

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Posted by Wendy Pham on 06/04/2012 at 4:02 PM

I know this is unrelated but I am confused about green smoothies/juices. I am reading more about how it can be harmful to your help because of the oxidation process. Do you have a link to a post you wrote about this? Thanks for responding to all of your comments!

Posted by Flood86 on 06/04/2012 at 6:20 PM

Wendy - Thanks for sharing... So excited to hear that you are keeping up with the habits!

Posted by Food Babe on 06/10/2012 at 11:19 PM

Flood86 - (Sorry I don't know your name) Green smoothies and green juicing are two things that are amazing for your health. If you are referring to the Healthy Home Economist's Post about oxalates, I responded to it on my Facebook Page. Also Nutritionist Kim Synder wrote a comprehensive post on the subject you can read here -…
Good Luck!

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Posted by Food Babe on 06/10/2012 at 11:24 PM

This is also my new fave chocolate bar! Love them! No foreign ingredients and from Switzerland, too (where we just lived and LOVED). The Swiss know their chocolate! We actually had a chocolate "factory" right down the street from us (in Basel, CH) and it was always a treat to look in the windows and see them crafting their chocolates. Of course, the EU chocolate laws are more stringent than the US (mandating a much higher cocoa content than the FDA allows to pass as "chocolate" here in the US) so even the so-called "cheap" chocolate in the EU is way better than most chocolate sold here!

Posted by Natasha Drisdelle on 11/15/2012 at 2:40 PM

Im trying hard to eat cleaner- thanks for all of your hard work - shame on Hersheys! chocolate and I love eachother - thanks for making it easy to pick the right chocolate...perhaps you can do the same for my love life! ha

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Posted by mballard on 02/10/2013 at 8:28 AM

Is there a way you can post a Pinterest link on your posts? I'd love to try some of the chocolate you found, but know I will forget the name of it.

Posted by Amy Powers on 05/15/2014 at 8:24 PM

I believe you said one other time that Nib Mor is a good one as well. They have it at the store where I shop - it is organic and non-GMO.

Posted by Martie Hill Schoener on 05/15/2014 at 9:54 PM

I appreciate the tremendous work you are doing to uncover what the greed and profit driven food industry is putting in our "food". However, I cringe every time you push "vote/eat with your dollars" because it is highly classist and disparaging to the millions of people in this country who economically are disenfranchised. Having less money should not mean you have less of a voice.

Posted by Fatima Ehsan on 06/19/2014 at 3:01 PM
Showing 1-11 of 11

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