Alter Eco launches Fair Trade, carbon-neutral chocolate bar

by Jennifer Barnett Fox
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Superior taste, ecologically sound production and environmental consciousness are cornerstones of Alter Eco, Inc., San Francisco, CA. For more than a decade, Alter Eco has sourced and produced Fair Trade foods designed to tempt the taste buds while impacting the earth and its populations in a positive way.

Since 1999, Alter Eco has supplied Fair Trade and carbon-neutral chocolate, coffee, tea, sugar, olive oil, rice and white, red and black quinoa. Fair Trade means that farmers receive fair wages for their work as well as funding for community development and sustainable farming initiatives. Carbon neutral is defined as a product that has a positive or null impact on the planet.

Alter Eco was established in Paris, France, in 1999 with a small store in Les Halles. The company later partnered with French retailer Monoprix in urban markets, and by 2003 Alter Eco was France’s No. 1 Fair Trade brand. Recognizing an opportunity to extend the brand, Alter Eco combined its best sellers, dark chocolate and quinoa, into the Dark Chocolate Quinoa: Midnight Crunch chocolate bar.

“The Dark Chocolate Quinoa bar was a logical extension for our company,” said Edouard Rollet, co-founder, Alter Eco. “We already have the quality Fair Trade sources for sugar, chocolate, quinoa and cacao.”

The company works with Fair Trade farmers of the El Ceibo cooperative in the Bolivian Amazon in South America to grow and harvest the high-quality Criollo cacao beans and quinoa. To offset carbon impact,

Alter Eco teams with the El Ceibo farmers on 35 reforestation projects in the Amazon, a primary cacao-growing area.

Following harvest, Alter Eco ships a portion of the cacao beans and quinoa to Switzerland for chocolate bar production. Made entirely of Fair Trade ingredients, the chocolate is manufactured with traditional Swiss methods including allowing the chocolate to conch 72 hours to achieve the desired velvety consistency and snap. The quinoa is extruded to attain the desired crisp texture.

Designed as a gourmet alternative to crisped-rice chocolate bars, the eco-friendly bars are vegan; organic; and GMO-, soy- and gluten-free. They also contain no artificial flavors, emulsifiers or sweeteners. The bars retail for $3.99, include 4 g of dietary fiber and 2 g of protein per bar and are free of saturated fat, trans-fat, cholesterol and sodium. They are sold via and through the natural food channel, including Whole Foods, Wegmans and a number of co-ops. The product was also shown at the January Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. ◾