celebrating fairtrade fortnight with seed & bean chocolates

Choosing Fairtrade means farmers can make ends meet today and plant seeds of hope for tomorrow.

This year, the focus of the annual Fairtrade fortnight is on cocoa farmers. To help spread the word about the positive impact Fairtrade has on cocoa farmers, we spoke to the wonderful team behind Seed and Bean, which is no ordinary chocolate.

Supporting Fairtrade and giving back to the farms and communities that grow their beans has been an integral part of Seed and Bean’s story from the get-go.

Can you tell us the story of Seed & Bean and the inspiration behind the brand?

Seed & Bean was founded in 2005 with the idea to create an ethical range of confectionery. The focus was on always using organic ingredients, using small-scale suppliers and being brave and wild with flavours — chocolate with a wild side.

Seed and Bean is 100% organic, our products are ethically sourced, and all of our chocolates are handmade in England. We also pride ourselves on being Fairtrade where possible and our packaging is 100% compostable, including the inner foil.

We source our cocoa from three countries; Sao Tome Islands off West Africa, Ecuador and The Dominican Republic. By supporting Seed & Bean, not only are you getting a delicious organic chocolate, but you can help us provide more nurseries to help farmers to re-new their plantations.

Our production facility is deliberately small: our batch size is just 45 litres, compared to large industrially-produced chocolatiers who make batches of 20-50,000 litres a batch! When it comes to chocolate, we really are chocolate artisans.

At seed & bean, everything is deeply considered; from the ingredients you choose to your conscious approach. Why is choosing Fairtrade certified farms so important to you?

By getting personal with our Cocoa suppliers and growers we can better understand the issues and controls they have. By applying knowledge gained of 25 years of organic cocoa production we can help growers produce a far greater yield and a higher quality bean. This way we help each other.

The growers have a much better income and learn how to develop their often-neglected cocoa plots using organic farming techniques. These skills are then passed down through generations. Over time these growing efforts enable funding for schools and healthcare that is fully sustainable, as well as providing increased local work demands for more families in the area.

We’re both committed not only to integrity and accountability, but also respecting nature’s resources. Why was choosing 100% organic ingredients the focus from the start for Seed & Bean?

By converting to organic as well as Fairtrade, our producers are saving money by using less fossil fuels in fertilizers. This reduces their carbon emissions and stops their exposure to harmful pesticides such as lindane. Although banned in the EU for it’s cancer causing effects, lindane is often found to be used in cocoa production.

As well as this, we always want to stay core to our roots — to create organic chocolate. So, whilst it can sometimes be limiting to only use organic ingredients (for example, we can’t find organic caramel although we’d love to do a Salted Caramel Chocolate), we feel it’s important to stay true to ourselves and be as natural as possible, while still creating great tasting chocolate.

Seed & Bean’s packaging is fully compostable. Can you explain how this process works?

As well as supporting organic methods we strive to do what we can to reduce our imprint on the planet. Our chocolate is made locally near our warehouse in Northamptonshire and we try to deliver in multi-drop vehicles saving fuel and carbon emissions.

As well as this, we ensure our packaging is all fully recyclable and compostable. Our outer wrappers are paper and therefore can be recycled. Our “foil” inner wrappers are Natureflex, made from eucalyptus wood pulp which is fully home compostable.

What inspires Seed & Bean’s wonderful and unique flavours?

Working with our small team we have created our take on classic chocolate flavours, as well as being a little daring with some of our more unique and adventurous flavour combinations! Our flavours were inspired by English Botanicals originally, but then developed to also incorporate trends and what our customers wanted. We always want to stay ahead, offering flavour combinations that have not been seen before. There is something for everyone in our vast range of 18 flavours.

An interesting author.