As of today, organic-loving, sustainably-minded consumers have yet another reason to visit the natural candy aisle: Theo Chocolate’s organic, Fair Trade peanut butter cups.
Just in time for back to school, the Seattle bean-to-bar chocolate maker rolled out these “soy free, palm oil free” treats, adding to the array of “better-for-you” versions of old fashioned candy that makes us tear up wistfully (or get pavlovion stomach aches) when we hear “trick or treat.”
The organic versions tend to improve in texture, sweetness, freshness, and a more sophisticated flavor vs the conventional versions while costing about twice the price (due to smaller batch sizes, less commodity purchasing power and far superlative ingredients).
I have gallantly sampled the gamut and submit this report for your consideration:
- Justin’s of Boulder, Colorado was, as far as I know, the first to come out with organic peanut butter cups for which they’ve won a bunch of awards.
- Meanwhile in Oakland, California, Ocho Candy, which I had the pleasure of visiting last year, chose to pack it’s yummy organic peanut butter filling into a bar format. I love how the sugar crystals add a bit of crunch to this super fine bar, which are made using a very labor-intensive confectionery process.
- Legit Organics out of Ashland, Oregon launched not with nut butter cups but with 3 organic candy bars that will look strangely familiar to pretty much any American (although I learned that Legit’s caramel-peanut-nougat bar was my mother’s first taste of any such bar. Could she be THE only American without a peanut allergy who has never had a Snickers???)Legit took a clever approach to its branding, appealing more to mainstream eaters than a natural foods customer. Slick, hip product names and shiny metallic packaging complement names like Shot Caller and Word (see photo below, to get schooled). The bars — one with caramel and nougat and one with only fluffy nougat in addition to the Snickers-inspired bar — fill a niche for wanna-be organic eaters who appreciate our popular old time candy bars.
Also in Boulder, Seth Ellis Chocolatier’s Sun Cups fulfill cravings for gluten-free, nut-free candy lovers. While not certified organic, a little bird told me they are made with organic ingredients.
So the Western 1/3rd of the U.S. has got this “better for you” packaged candy bar trend covered. Who’ll be the first east of the Mississippi to call the shots?