Between plant-based living, meat free Mondays, wonky veg boxes and a whole host of other healthy eating initiatives, we’re becoming increasingly used to thinking about where the food on our plate comes from and what goes into it. However, one area which we sometimes overlook is sweet treats. Don’t worry - it’s not just you that doesn’t stop to check the label when the 4pm sugar fix comes calling.
One person who did though, was Emma Jackman, who founded raw chocolate brand Conscious Chocolate
after struggling to find a chocolate bar that fit in with her lifestyle: “There was some good vegan chocolate out there, but it contained refined sugar which I wanted to avoid. I really wanted to make a chocolate for myself that ticked all the boxes - amazing tasting, healthy and good on all levels, including ethical.”
Fast-forward 15 years, via selling at festival’s and markets including London’s iconic Borough Market, and she’s now stocked by stores such as Planet Organic and Whole Foods. We caught up with her to ask about the processes behind making her bars and what to watch for when choosing chocolate with a heart.
Food waste something we can all do to be more sustainable – how do you tackle it as a business?
We put a lot of effort into making sure nothing is wasted when it comes to making our chocolate bars – in fact, the only waste would be if an ingredient was spilled but of course we avoid this as much as we can. We work in small batches of one recipe at a time and are very mindful of our best before ends on ingredients. Fortunately, due to the nature of our production we use virtually the entire raw materials - and what we don’t use we turn into another product e.g. mulberry chips. All left over chocolate gets used in the next production run.
How do you source ingredients?
All our ingredients are organic, vegan and gluten free as well, as refined sugar free, so this already means there is a lot of controls in place from the start. We’re certified with the Soil Association, a certification body whose organic inspections are very strict - they will inspect all goods to make sure every single ingredient is certified as organic.
On a ground level, we have an ethical statement which we send to each and every one of our suppliers meaning that they must prove they can comply with certain rules to make sure there is sustainability, and ensure there is no slavery or child labour involved. The cacao suppliers are also certified with Rainforest Alliance, which means that the farmer is protected, well paid, and sustainability of the land is ensured.
How important is it to make sure the packaging is sustainable?
Too often, we see companies be guilty of greenwashing, but you must have integrity. Of course, your customers are going to look for evidence, so you really have to look at all the processes and make sure your company stands up to scrutiny.
I’m proud to say that all our packaging is plastic free, recyclable, and biodegradable. The inks are vegetable based and the varnish is water based. The inner is even made from sustainable eucalyptus wood pulp, and certified to be suitable for both home composting and to be biodegradable!
What’s your favourite product in the range?
So hard to choose! I've just been eating the Goji and Coconut bar and love the Four Nuts or the Dark Side 75%, or the 100% Pure Dark Bar. But, of course I love all the flavours as they are my recipes!
What’s in the pipeline for Conscious Chocolate?
We have some really luxurious, premium chocolate coated snacks that have recently launched, which have already won the Nourish Snack Award, as well as some gorgeous new Christmas gift boxes
- the Dark Star Box and our Majestic Gift Box.
Follow Conscious Chocolate on Instagram