chocolate sustainability farming organic quality
We are making some changes to Antidote, and wanted to fill you in. Transparency is key for consumers to make informed decisions, so they know exactly what they are putting into their bodies. It’s important to us too when we buy food, and this led to transparency as a priority for Antidote as well. Let’s take a look at our commitment to you, our Antidote customers, and what you can expect in the future.
1) Organic ingredients
For many years now we have used organic ingredients whenever possible. We’ve been lucky to find high quality certified organic cacao. The fruits and flavor ingredients we source in Ecuador have been more challenging though. It took a while to gather more and more ingredients organic, finally having 7 out of 10 bars fully organic certified with the USDA seal. The remaining 3 bars were 90% to 95% organic and did not have the seal.
We are making a few changes as some of the vendors we partner with have dropped the organic certification. Many of you may be aware of the high cost the certification incurs. In addition to the financial impact, many of our vendors also felt the administrative burden that resulted from all of the requirements. So we at Antidote had a decision to make. Maintaining the superior level of quality and delicious flavor we deliver is and always will be one of the most important factors we consider when sourcing ingredients. So while we are still using many certified organic ingredients, some of our ingredients will no longer be certified. The coffee for the year-round favorite coffee + cardamom bar, for example, will no longer be certified organic. After researching (and taste testing!) different organic suppliers, we simply couldn’t find the quality we needed. Organic is great when it delivers on flavor and quality, but that isn’t always the case. Additionally, the cacao farm we work with went through some changes with their organic certification, further impacting our organic status.
We have a proverb in Germany: “aus der Not eine Tugend machen”, meaning to make a virtue out of emergency. In other words, while these changes were driven by necessity, we decided to take this as an opportunity to strengthen our commitments to you: to deliver high quality, and promote sustainability.
Instead of working with one certified organic farm as we did in the past, we now work with many small, independent farms, contributing to a larger part of Ecuador’s community and economy. Supporting the families who own these farms is one of the advantages of sourcing naturally grown cacao (no pesticides or chemical fertilizers) rather than being limited to a certified organic farm. We carefully choose these farms to partner with, and teach them our unique processes to achieve the desired flavor. We are happy to support these families, and in turn increase our support for the community as a whole.
3) What the future holds
So within the next months you’ll find beautiful Antidote packages without organic seals. And we trade that in for even better quality. We are 100% committed to a clean product full of flavor and free from chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Most of our other ingredients will be from the same organic source, including many of our spices and cacao butter, for example. What we are NOT committed to is the certification organizations. The certification has been a headache since day one, and we look forward to putting more energy in what we love—making chocolate that is super delicious and an Antidote that makes you feel good.
Even though we continue to use many certified organic ingredients, the packaging will no longer show any certification. We sell in Europe and Asia in addition to the US, and the organic laws differ for each region. Producing in the country of origin (Ecuador) adds another layer of complexity in regards to EU organic law. As a result even when we had USDA certified organic bars, we were not allowed to sell them in Europe designated as organic. This led to printing additional versions of labels to remove organic references; yet another challenge to overcome!
In short, here are the upcoming changes:
- naturally grown cacao instead of certified organic cacao
- no organic certification for our bars
- the certified organic ingredients we do use won’t be labeled as such on the packaging
- supporting more small, independent farms and families in Ecuador
- even better cacao flavor
- continued commitment to ultimate quality and sustainability
- No GMO’s
- No artificial flavors, not even essential oils
We hope you continue to trust us to make delicious chocolate that is good for you in all ways. Don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions, suggestions or comments. We'd love to hear from you!