Last Updated on April 29, 2022 by The Filtery Staff
I try to make healthy decisions for myself, but I also love chocolate... Can you relate? While Hershey’s was the go-to bar when I was growing up, I’ve since discovered that there are much healthier (and honestly, much more tasty) options available—both for my own health and for that of our home planet.
We’ve done the hard, grueling, and self-sacrificial work of taste-testing a variety of different organic chocolate brands and given you our favorites here. You’re welcome.
This post contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase. We only make recommendations that are genuine and meet our standards.
Featured image credit: Farmhouse Chocolates
Does It Matter If Chocolate Is Organic?
As we discussed in our article on online organic food stores, organic does in fact mean better.
Non-organic food is sprayed with chemical pesticides and fertilizers which have been shown to cause all kinds of health concerns, from cancer and fertility problems, to ADHD and Parkinson’s. (This makes sense when you consider that many of the pesticides and herbicides used today were originally developed to be poisons like Agent Orange!)
Organically grown chocolate is free from these toxic chemicals. If and when herbicides, pesticides, and/or fertilizers are needed, only safer and more natural methods are used.
Of course, organically grown food is not only better for individual human health, but it’s much better for our overall environment and the farming communities involved as well. Non-organic growing practices strips topsoil of nutrients and kills the biodiversity necessary to keep our ecosystems running properly.
In my opinion, most organic chocolate is just much higher quality compared to your conventional Hershey bar. Even with my sweet tooth, just a few squares from one of the organic chocolate brands featured below satisfies me, and I end up eating a lot less chocolate than I would have if I were munching on a Crunch bar!
The Ethical Issue of the Chocolate Industry
There’s another issue to consider when it comes to chocolate, and that’s the fact that it has a long and dark history involving forced labor, indentured servitude, and child labor. In 2021, for example, several of the largest chocolate companies—including Hershey’s, Nestle, and Mars—faced a class action lawsuit where they were accused of a”aiding and abetting the illegal enslavement of “thousands” of children on cocoa farms in their supply chains.” This specific case was eventually thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court, but that doesn’t really mean much because the problem is far from solved.
Since human and environmental health are so interconnected, you’ll usually find that the brands that care about growing organically are the same brands that prioritize fair trade practices along with other ethical and sustainable practices.
It can be helpful to look for certifications that indicate eco and ethical responsibility on the chocolate you buy. Although third-party certifications aren’t essential for a brand or product to be “organic” or “fair trade” (these certifications can be expensive for small brands), they can definitely help. Labels like USDA Organic, Fair Trade USA, Fairtrade International, and Fair for Life provide some accountability for brands and communicate to customers that the product has been verified to meet a specific set of environmental and/or social criteria.
Where to Buy Organic Chocolate Online (& Our Favorite Picks)
Now, let’s get to the important part. Here are our favorite taste-tested organic chocolate brands for each category:
Best Organic Chocolate Gift Box: Raaka Small-Batch Organic Chocolate Library Gift Box
Highlights: USDA Organic, Non-GMO, Free of: Gluten, Nut, Dairy, and Soy
These beautifully-wrapped luxury chocolate bars are made in Brooklyn, New York out of sustainably sourced, unroasted cocoa beans. They come in several unique and tasty flavors, including Bourbon Cask Aged, Bananas Foster, Green Tea Crunch, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pink Sea Salt, and more.
And if you’re wondering why this gift box has the word “Library” in it, it’s because it comes with a 16-page(!!) booklet which takes you through the entire process Raaka chocolate goes through, from sourcing to the end creation. It makes for a truly unique and immersive experience for your recipient!
(Oh, and if you want some flowers to gift alongside the chocolate, here are some resources for you!)
Best Organic Chocolate Truffles: Living Ratio
Highlights: Organic, Vegan, Keto Friendly, Fair Trade practices, Free of: Gluten, Soy, Palm Oil
Living Ratio’s Truffle Super Sampler comes with a box that includes their various truffle flavors, including Almond Butter, Strawberry Coconut Butter, Cosmic Mint, Golden Mylk, and a Seasonal Flavor (like Pumpkin Spice or Matcha Ginger).
Living Ratio is committed to making minimally-processed chocolate (without added sugar) and they don’t cut any corners when it comes to ingredient sourcing. It was actually started by a man named Jonathan who experienced a great deal of fatigue and brain fog, which put him on a mission to investigate (and help to clean up!) the ingredients in our food supply.
This would be a great option to consider for your loved ones with diabetes or other metabolic disorders. Although their website says you should consult with your doctor to make sure, they state that “Almost all of our products are made with ingredients that have minimal effect on blood sugar with a glycemic index of zero.”
Living Ratio also carries other yummy products like chocolate bars, flavored nut butters, and calming hot cocoa.
Other brands making delicious and creamy organic chocolate truffles:
Best Organic Chocolate Bars: Hu
Highlights: USDA Organic, Non-GMO, Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegan, Kosher
I won’t lie: Hu is currently my all-time favorite brand for chocolate bars. The premise behind the Hu brand is to “get back to being human,” which means eating real, unprocessed food; playing, laughing, and sleeping; and ultimately discovering what makes you flourish.
Not only are these bars organic, but they’re also free of other things that even ‘healthier’ sweets include, like cane sugar, emulsifiers, and sugar alcohols. Personally, they satisfy my sweet tooth with just a few squares and they don’t lead to any crazy blood sugar spikes or crashes. Plus, Hu’s chocolate bars are available at a lot of grocery stores, so they’re easy to grab when you’re out and about.
Other brands we love for yummy organic chocolate bars:
- Dr. Bronner’s (Yes, the soap brand! They have chocolate now, too!)
- Tony’s Chocolonely
- Taza Chocolate
- Beyond Good
- Alter Eco
- Endangered Species
- Endorfin Foods
It should be noted that Hu was recently acquired by Mondelēz, which is one of the big candy companies involved in the lawsuit mentioned above. (They own other chocolate brands like Chips Ahoy, Cadbury, and Oreo.) Despite the fact that it probably helps the brand get into the hands of more consumers, it’s always disappointing to see small, sustainable, and healthy brands get bought out by big corporations.
We’ve decided to keep Hu in this guide for now because they have assured us that Hu will maintain a completely separate supply chain from Mondelez’s other products and that none of the ingredient guardtails they’ve had in place since the beginning will change. Hu also uses partially Fair Trade certified ingredients and has stated that they’re in the process of becoming 100% certified Fair Trade. If any of this ever changes, we will definitely re-evaluate and remove Hu from our recommended brands if needed!
Best Organic Chocolate Chips: Equal Exchange
Highlights: USDA Organic, Vegan, Kosher, Fair Trade Federation member
Whether for snacking, baking chocolate chip cookies, or dipping strawberries, chocolate chips are a must for a variety of baking and making. Equal Exchange carries both semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate chips.
Equal Exchange is actually a democratic worker co-operative (one of the largest in the country!), which means that the workers actually own the company and vote on the company’s processes and direction. The organization is committed to fair trade practices and carefully source their ingredients from small farmers who are paid fair prices for their products. In a world where the profit-maximization-above-everything-else structure dominates the business world, we love seeing a different way of operating!
Equal exchange also carries fair trade hot cocoa, coffee, and tea.
Other brands to help you stock you up organic chocolate chips:
Best Single Origin Organic Chocolate: Beyond Good
Highlights: USDA Organic, Certified Direct Trade, Kosher, Non-GMO, Vegan, Gluten Free, Soy Free
‘Single origin’ indicates that the chocolate is made using cacao beans that all comes from the same place. (A lot of chocolate is made using a mix of cocoa from all over the place.) While it doesn’t always mean it’s more ethical, single origin chocolate does tend to have a simpler and more transparent supply chain by nature.
Beyond Good chocolate works with farmers in just two places: Madagascar and Uganda. The chocolate made in the exact same place from which the cacao beans are sourced, and then it’s shipped from there to you. Beyond Good works directly with farmers, and you can find out more about each one of those farmers on their website.
Best Ultra Dark Chocolate: Taza Chocolate
Highlights: USDA Organic, Direct Trade, Non-GMO, Vegan, Kosher, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free
Taza carries a selection of various “Wicked Dark,” “Seriously Dark,” and “Deliciously Dark” bars that come in solid chocolate or combined with different nuts and fruits.
Using traditional Mexican stone mills (called molinos), Taza makes unrefined, stone ground chocolate from bean to bar at their Somerville, Massachusetts chocolate factory. This unrefined and stone ground process makes for a little bit of a different taste and texture than what you might be used to. It’s got a little more grit to it, but a very full and luxurious flavor.
The team at Taza is committed to fostering direct trade relationships with their chocolate farmers and they publish a transparency report each year so customers can find out more about their entire supply chain.
We also love Taza’s chocolate discs—a traditional Mexican-style disc with a flavor-packed gritty texture to it. Their chocolate disc sampler would make for a great gift. They also have other kinds of snacks like chocolate covered nuts, barks, and espresso beans.
Other organic chocolate brands making amazing dark chocolate are:
Best Chocolate Candies: UNREAL
Highlights: Non-GMO, Fair Trade, Vegan, Gluten Free, Some organic ingredients, RSPO certified palm oil
If solid chocolate isn’t really your thing, UNREAL is a great replacement for Reese’s, M&Ms, Snickers, and Almond Joys (okay actually, their Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars are a LOT better than Almond Joys).
Their Gems come in milk chocolate, peanut, and crispy quinoa to take the place of M&Ms. Their Reese Cup replacements come in peanut butter, almond butter, and crispy quinoa. And they even have a Dark Chocolate Caramel Peanut Nougat Bar to replace your Snickers.
Not ALL of their ingredients are completely organic, but many of them are. Plus, they use fair trade ingredients, they have a lot less sugar than conventional chocolate candies, and they contain nothing artificial.
Other eco-friendly and fair trade chocolate candies and cups:
Whether you’re shopping for a holiday gift or are just looking for some snacking chocolate to stock the pantry, indulge a little in one of the organic chocolate brands above. Not only is organic chocolate healthier for you and your family, but it’s also better for this ecosystem we live in. Plus, the brands we’ve picked out here are UBER TASTY, too!
Image credits: all product images belong to respective brands