10 Ethical Candy Companies To Shop For Easter 2021

Easter is only a few days away! Whether you adore little bunnies and dressy brunches or loathe pastel colors, everybody likes a good excuse to eat candy. Not all candy is created equal though, and you may be rightfully concerned about the origins of that Nestlé candy bar in your basket. International candy juggernauts aren’t the only option though and there are companies out there dedicated to producing quality Easter treats you can feel great about gifting. Read on for ten amazing gourmet confectioners who have their workers and the planet as their highest concerns.

Six brightly colored foil wrapped chocolate eggs

Daria Medvedeva/Shutterstock

1. Curacao Confections

When we think about candy, and especially chocolate, the first thing our minds go to when evaluating its ethical value is cacao. This makes sense, after all cacao is the main ingredient in chocolate bars. But what about cacao’s little helper, sugar? Sugar is a pretty water-intensive crop, and the mass production of sugar often leads to deforestation and lower quality soil over time. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, refined cane sugar might not be suitable for you either since bone char (charred remnants of animal bones) is often used to remove impurities from sugar. So what’s a little bunny to do? Enter Curacao Confections! Curacao Confections was founded in 2008 with the original goal being to produce amazing candy for people with sensitivities to gluten, dairy, peanuts, soy and refined sugar. Since then they’ve grown to offer a variety of chocolate bars and candies with all your favorite fillings like caramel, mint, nougat and marshmallow. All of these delicious concoctions are sweetened with coconut sugar, a low glycemic alternative to cane sugar made with no bone char which is regarded as one of the most sustainable sweeteners the Earth has to offer. Correcao Confections harvests the nectar for their sugar directly from the flowers without harming the tree, so no deforestation worries here. They haven’t forgotten about the star of the show either, all of their Cacao is sourced from fair trade biodynamic farms that don’t harm native biodiversity. This company is fantastic if you’re looking for eco-friendly dark chocolate or other Easter classics, especially when you’re used to missing out on a lot of the good stuff because of allergies, dietary restrictions and other sensitivities. The almond butter eggs look too amazing for you to feel like you’re missing out on anything and their blocks of drinking chocolate are going to look so enticing in any basket.

2. Alter Eco

If you’re a fan of Lindt Lindor truffles or Ghirardelli chocolate bars, Alter Eco is the perfect brand to give you your fix without the guilt. They follow every single one of their products through the entire supply chain trying their best to reduce waste on the way. The cacao they use is always sourced from small, organic and fair trade cocoa farms which they invest in directly through the Alter Eco Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to helping cocoa farmers switch from traditional monoculture to agroforestry, a more sustainable type of farming designed to mimic natural evolution which cuts down on habitat destruction, water waste and soil degradation. After the chocolate is made using the most sustainable methods possible, it’s wrapped in recyclable or completely biodegradable materials pioneered by the company itself. Even as your candy is shipping to you, they have your back, planting trees to offset any carbon emissions made by your purchase. This effort really shows in the numbers, Alter Eco has been consistently ranked as a Best for the World honoree since their B Corp Certification in 2009 based on environmental impact, employee welfare and company governance. All this means you can rest assured munching on your hazelnut butter bombs or sea salt chocolate truffles is an enlightened indulgence indeed.

3. Ananda Foods

Easter makes for a great excuse to indulge your sweet tooth, but not everyone is a chocolate fan. If you want something sweet that’s vegan, sustainably packaged, and still every bit as delicious, go with Ananda Foods. The company started in 2008 when Ananda could only find one American company that supplied gelatin free marshmallows for her daughter. Today, Ananda Foods offers a variety of vegan, allergy-friendly sweet treats, but her marshmallows remain very popular for good reason. They toast just like a regular marshmallow and come in a variety of scrumptious flavors like coffee, raspberry rose and the Easter special, blueberry pancake. Though they are a smaller company and not B Corp certified, almost all of their packaging is recycled or recyclable, with the outer packaging being reused whenever possible and over 90% of their waste being upcycled or recycled. This isn’t necessarily the most sustainable or ethical company on this list, but it’s an amazing family-owned company to support, especially if you’re looking for a more unique treat.

4. Amborella Organics

These were definitely floating around the news cycle a couple of years ago, but just in case this one slipped your mind, check out Amborella Organics. That’s right, these are the famous seed-bearing lollipops! The process is simple: your lollipops arrive in sustainable recyclable packaging, you devour your lollipop, plant the stick made of recycled paper horizontally in the ground and watch your herbs grow. These beautiful lollipops come in whimsical floral and botanical flavors like sage and marshmallow, vanilla and hibiscus and green apple and chamomile. It’s the perfect treat for hard candy lovers, especially if you’ve been looking for a reason to start your garden.

5. French Broad Chocolates

Though fairly new to the B Corp world, this North Carolina company has been a  game-changer in ethical chocolate for over a decade. After meeting at a wedding in 2003, founders Dan and Jael Rattigan decided their lives needed changing. After dropping out of grad school, they embarked on a journey to Costa Rica on an old bus converted to run on used vegetable oil. There, they fell in love with chocolate, opening Bread & Chocolate in Costa Rica and expanding to French Broad Chocolate Lounge in Asheville, North Carolina in 2008. Today they offer everything from chocolate bars to Brownies to ice cream, but Dan and Jael haven’t forgotten their original mission. The majority of their ingredients are sourced from local companies in the area that share their values of sustainability and fair practices, and they compost most of their waste from their factory, even sharing their cacao mulch with local farmers. The cacao making up their chocolates, bars and brownies is sourced from ethical farmer co-ops in Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Costa Rica. Outside of their delicious confections, French Broad Chocolates also partners with Bicycle Benefits to offer sweet rewards for anyone dedicated to reducing their emissions associated with motorized vehicles. If you’re really looking forward to some baked goods in your Easter basket this year or maybe some boozy bourbon pecans, French Broad Chocolates is sure to become your new favorite.

6. Buddha Chocolate

After hearing about Curacao Confections and their commitment to sustainable sweeteners, you might be inspired to look for other brands with the same goal. Buddha Chocolate is here to satisfy your sweet tooth, using sustainably farmed coconut sugar to sweeten their signature bars. The result is an unrefined and low glycemic whole food sweetener that doesn’t harm the trees when harvested. They aren’t cutting corners on the cacao either, harvesting all the beans they use from fair trade and sustainable agroforestry-based farms, ensuring less habitat loss, soil degradation and pollution results from the growth of their cocoa beans. For their spring products, Buddha Chocolate takes its inspiration directly from nature, with four botanically flavored bars. They look absolutely delightful, but if lavender bliss, lemon zen, wild rose and sea salt or cosmic coconut aren’t your thing, they’ve still got the classic chocolate bunnies and vegan mallow eggs we all love. But really, who could pass up chocolate that looks like it was decorated by a fairy?

7. Vosges Haut Chocolat

If someone tried to pitch an idea for an ethical meat lover’s chocolate bar to you, you’d probably burst out laughing. The bacon craze of days gone by is surely better left in the past, and a company specializing in chocolate covered pork can’t be too concerned with the planet, right? Wrong! Vosges monitors the sustainability of their products from bean to bar, operating several green initiatives along the way. Many of their cocoa suppliers (though admittedly not all of them) are fair trade certified. All manufacturing locations operate on 100% renewable energy, even still carefully monitoring energy usage and adjusting monthly. All printed products are made with vegetable-based ink on paper made from at least 10% post-consumer product and all purple boxes are made of 100% recycled material. Even the shipping boxes are made of recycled material and the bags are biodegradable. All of this means Vosges can bring you unique and exotic luxury chocolates without the guilt. Their truffles flavored with wasabi and ginger sound to die for and they manage to make a bacon chocolate bar sound like the classiest thing in the world. I had a friend who used to spoil me with bacon and coconut curry chocolate that I’ve been craving ever since and I finally found a guilt-free substitute! If you love Easter candy but get tired of the same old flavors, Vosges comes highly recommended.

8. Sparko Sweets

Okay, it’s about time the hard candy lovers got another suggestion. If you really love lollipops in more classic flavors, Sparko Sweets can supply your Easter basket with all the flavors you love like green apple, cherry and strawberry along with a few spring-inspired botanical flavors to round out the catalog. Their lollipop sticks are all biodegradable except for the twinkle pops which are still recyclable. All lollipop wrappers are made of eco-friendly cellophane and the packing peanuts they use are biodegradable. This company is the perfect source for eco-friendly lollies in all the classic flavors you remember, plus a few extras, and you can even customize them!

9. Lake Champlain Chocolates

Toffee, hot chocolate and truffles, oh my! This Vermont candy company is another certified B Corporation with a commitment to sustainability, ethical sourcing and flavor. All of their chocolate is fair trade certified and organic and their chocolate bars, in particular, are wrapped in New Leaf Paper, a brand specializing in 100% post-consumer product paper. As for the rest of their paper products, they’ve been using Forest Steward Council certified material in these products for over 10 years. This ensures that whatever paper products they use are made from sustainably and responsibly-sourced trees. The Lake Champlain factory in Burlington, Vermont uses sustainable lawn care practices and 10% of the profits from their Restorative Moments collection are donated to the Intervale Center’s Conservation Nursery. That means 10% of the cost for the Restorative Moments chocolate in your Easter basket goes to planting trees to combat climate change. They’re as transparent with their supply chain as possible, listing the companies they get their ingredients and packaging from directly on their website. Even the farm that supplies Lake Champlain Chocolates with the heavy cream for their truffles uses its cow manure to generate electricity. All of this work means you can have your peanut butter filled eggs, nutty chocolate-covered toffee and addictive almond clusters without a devastating environmental impact. Lake Champlain Chocolates has been ahead of the curve on sustainability for years and if you live in Vermont and want to support a local business, this is a great way to start

10. Thrive Market

Thrive Market is by no means exclusively a chocolate or candy company, but they still deserve at least a brief mention on this list. In addition to providing an extensive list of sustainable and ethical candy companies, Thrive Market sells their own fair trade and organic chocolate bars in a few different intensities to satisfy the majority of chocolate lovers. Also, Thrive Market is a carbon-neutral company that utilizes zero-waste warehouses, 100% post-consumer packaging and renewable energy wherever possible. This applies even to products that aren’t part of the Thrive brand. So if you want to reduce your environmental impact even more, a great way to start is by ordering your products through Thrive Market to neutralize your shipping as much as possible.

 

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