In 1994, we launched Maya Gold, the first UK chocolate product to be awarded the Fairtrade Mark by the Fairtrade Foundation.
Our founders, Jo Fairley and Craig Sams, were on holiday in Belize and while there, they sampled a local drink called Kukuh made with cocoa beans and spices. Kukuh was consumed by the Mayan farmers whose ancestors originally domesticated the cocoa bean. Inspired by the taste of Kukuh and the aroma of the rainforests, Jo and Craig decided to capture both in Green & Black's Maya Gold chocolate – a blend of intense dark chocolate with a refreshing twist of orange, perfectly balanced by the warmth of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.
At the time, no one realized what an important milestone for Green & Black's the trip would become. On discovering this, Jo and Craig initiated an agreement with the local farmers, paying them a guaranteed fair price and a premium for their organic cocoa. So from our very first batch of Maya Gold in 1994, and every batch since, the cocoa has been sourced directly from the farmers, giving them a fair price for their crop. Our Maya Gold bar was the first chocolate product in the UK to be awarded the Fairtrade mark.
This long-term arrangement for Green & Black's to be a significant buyer of organic cocoa beans produced by the TCGA gives economic security to the farmers and allows them to improve their quality of life. It's given security to the farmers' families, helping them to improve their quality of life, provide a better education for their families, and offer stability to the local community.
Today we continue to strengthen our link with the cocoa farmers of Belize by supporting their grower's cooperative, the Toledo Cacao Growers Association (TCGA). Our arrangement with the farmers made during that eventful trip made by Craig and Jo many years ago meets the standards set by Fairtrade, allowing our Maya Gold product to be certified by the Fairtrade Foundation
In 2011, all Green & Black's chocolate products are Fairtrade certified, as we continue to pay a fair price, developing strong relationships with producers and investing in the local infrastructure to improve lives in communities.