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Because I believe…

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    Environmental In-Box: Seeds of Change Chocolate

    Today begins a new feature on Diane's Big Green Purse: the Environmental In-Box product review.

    Every Monday morning, I'll review at least one of the products I've been sent during the previous week. I'll award three green purses to products that merit your consideration, two purses that are almost there, one purse to a product that's on the right track but has a long way to go. Plus, I'll give a "thumbs down" to goods that don't live up to their own claims.

    If you're familiar with the product yourself, please leave a comment. If you want me to review your product, please send me an e-mail first - there's no sense mailing me something I might not be interested in. But a note of caution: There's no quid pro quo here. Just because you send a product to review does not mean I will feel obligated to make glowing comments. I particularly abhor unverified claims, even the hint of greenwashing, and superlatives like "best," "greenest," "healthiest," or "first." Let the product speak for itself. And if you can't back up your eco-claims, please go back to the drawing board - or at least check out these labeling standards for some additional guidance.

    Here's what's in my In-Box today:

    Seeds of change chocolate Seeds of Change Chocolate - Seeds of Change built its reputation by preserving heirloom and traditional seed varieties. The company also produces certified organic foods "inspired by cultures and flavors from around the globe." Now they've turned their talents to chocolate. That's a very smart move in my humble opinion, given the environmental impact producing chocolate has -- as well as the fact that, in my household, chocolate is considered its own food group.

    The Product: Seeds of Change certified organic chocolate comes in six flavors: organic milk chocolate; organic milk chocolate with puffed grains (like a crisp); organic dark chocolate; organic dark chocolate with cherries and vanilla; organic dark chocolate with coconut; and organic dark chocolate with mango & cashew.

    What I like: The plain dark chocolate, with 61% cacao, is scrumptious - a great melt-in-your-mouth texture and full bodied flavor that lasts a long time. The milk chocolate is rich, smooth and creamy.

    What could improve?  I wasn't as wild about the bars that had cherries or mangos in them - the fruit pieces are so tiny, they felt gritty between my teeth. Plus, the bits are too small to impart much flavor; I never could taste the mango or cherry, though the coconut flavor comes through just fine. Overall I would have preferred larger pieces of fruit that seemed intentional, rather than an afterthought - think Cadbury's Fruit and Nut bars, where you can taste everything individually, but the flavors then meld into total deliciousness (however, Cadbury's bars aren't organic, a definite negative).

    What about the packaging? The bars seem overpackaged, given the product. Three individually wrapped 28-gram bars are encased in a cardboard envelope. The company says that the individual bars are "perfect for portion control, freshness and portability." Maybe - but honestly, if I'm in the mood to devour an entire chocolate bar, three individually wrapped packets won't stop me. The extra cardboard container is recyclable - but is it necessary at all?

    Corporate responsibility: Seeds of Change donates 1% of net sales to promote sustainable organic farming initiatives worldwide.

    Price comparison: A 12-pack order online will cost a little more than $3.00 bar, plus shipping and handling. In store, this product is competitively priced with other organic bars.

    Product comparison: You can compare Seeds of Change to Alter Eco,as well as Dagoba, Divine, Theo's, and Equal Exchange.

    How you can win a free 365-day supply of chocolate: Submit photos, stories or a video no longer than 3 minutes to SeedsofChangeChocolate.com describing what you've done to help the Earth. Sadly, eating chocolate doesn't count!

    Purse Purse How many purses? Two. This chocolate tastes great, is certified organic, and fuels donations to charities that support sustainable agriculture. I'd like to be able to taste the fruit and nuts in the variety bars. I also encourage Seeds of Change to reduce its packaging.

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    Comments

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    Elizah Leigh

    Thanks for this -- I'm a huge dark chocolate fan and am always on the lookout for a bar that is "worthy" of my tastebuds, but for some reason I have NEVER yet tried Seeds of Change bars (despite seeing them everywhere). Like you, I also really like to taste the goodies that a manufacturer is planting in my cacao, so maybe I'll wait on this brand for now. Many months back, I did a chocolate review (for a green social network called Greenwala)on Theo Chocolate and think that it is one of the top organic, fair trade brands out there. If you want to take a peek at the article, please check out this link: http://www.greenwala.com/my_blog/223-FEELING-BLUE-CHOMP-ON-GREEN-CHOCOLATE-FOR-INSTANT-HAPPY-FICATION In the meantime, Diane -- it would be great if you might on occasion, consider posting a few of your articles on Greenwala. I really enjoy your perspective and think that our community would thrive even more so with you on board. I'm sure that you're really busy as it is with Big Green Purse...just thought I'd plant the seed in your noggin! Plus, when you join, Greenwala will plant a tree in conjunction with the non-profit group "Trees For The Future"... We greenies gotta unite and conquer!!

    Planet One Gifts

    Hi Diane,

    Is this Fair trade Chocolate? You have compared it to other chocolates, but many of those, if not all are fair trade chocolates.

    Christina Viering

    I will give it a try, thanks for the info!

    Cynthia

    I, too, would like for it to be fair trade...very important. But the thing that struck me the hardest was that on the back of the package they have a " Sustainable Forest Initiative" seal. That "initiative" is straight from the Geo. W playbook...and big lumber industry. Just to greenwash and make people feel assured they are buying the "right" product. The Forest Stewardship Council is what is wanted here. Just makes me nervous they would even try that on their customers.

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