Frequently Asked Questions
- How green is your packaging?
At Green & Black’s we care passionately about making the best organic chocolate possible. Our name embodies the essence of the brand; “Green” representing our sustainable and organic principles and “Black” representing the intensity of our chocolate and our premium positioning. We believe that the best things in this world can also be good for it too.
We recognise that packaging needs to protect our products in the most environmentally responsible way possible, as well as reflecting our premium and stylish positioning. We believe that this balance can be achieved and we continue to challenge our existing formats as well as all new product development.
For more information: please see individual product packaging information within the ‘What we make section’
- What is Green & Blacks doing to help fight climate change?
The 'Green' beginnings of Green & Black's have always been central to the way we operate. All G&B’s products are certified as organic by The Soil Association (UK) and this includes checking that our ingredients are grown in environmentally sustainable ways. For example, nitrogen fertilisers which are carbon intensive are not used on organically grown ingredients. We also believe that protecting and nurturing rainforests is important and since 2003, we have planted one million cocoa trees in Belize – which has been good for cocoa farmers and the environment
We also believe that environmental awareness and action begins at home, and in our office we make every effort to minimise our carbon output. However, we know that we can go even further. We have been calculating our carbon footprint to see where we can improve and later this year we will start manufacturing the products we sell in the USA and Canada in North America instead of Europe in order to reduce our footprint. We are also constantly looking at ways of improving our packaging to reduce our impact on the environment.
- Do you take into account the environment when developing packaging?
We balance our passion for protecting the environment with the need to provide chocolate that arrives in one piece, is safe to eat, tastes fresh, and that our customers recognise with our iconic stylish Green & Black’s design.
We aim to be as environmentally-responsible as possible. We know that using paper, cardboard, foil and inks contributes to environmental damage so we use FSC paper wrappers for our bars, FSC cardboard for our gift and outer boxes, and vegetable based inks or FSC materials wherever possible.
Nutrition & Dietary Information
- Are all your products organic?
Yes & they are all certified by the Soil Association, the UK's leading organic certification body. The Soil Association symbol, which appears on all our products, offers the consumer a guarantee that the food they have purchased has been produced and processed to strict and rigorous environmental standards. All organic farms and food companies are inspected at least once a year to ensure the standards continue to be met. For more information, visit The Soil Association.
- Are your products suitable for vegetarians?
All of our products are suitable for vegetarians.
- Are your products suitable for coeliacs?
Some of our products are suitable for people who have to avoid gluten in their diet. Please visit our nutrition page summarising what the "contains symbols" for each product and those which do not.
Although some of our products do not use cereal ingredients, they are produced in a factory that does handle them and therefore there are risks of cross contact.
- Are your products nut-free?
All our products are made in factory which handles nut ingredients and therefore we cannot guarantee that any of our products are totally nut-free.
- Green & Black’s Peanut Statement
We cannot actively make the guarantee that our chocolate is peanut free as there may be the presence of peanuts further down the supply chain which is out of our immediate control.
- Are your products GM-free?
Yes – as all of our products are certified by the Soil Association (UK), this ensures no genetically modified (GM) ingredients are used in their production and they have IP GM free certification
- Is your chocolate suitable for people with diabetes?
It is a myth that people with diabetes can't ever eat chocolate..
If you have diabetes, please consult your doctor for advice or visit the Diabetes Canada website for further information.
- How much fat do your products contain?
All products within our product range contain varying amounts of fat. The fat we use in our chocolate comes from cocoa butter which occurs in cocoa beans, a plant source. Milk chocolate will contain some fat from the milk and products that contain nuts will also contain some fat from nuts.
Cocoa butter, like all fats is composed of several fatty acids – the main one being stearic acid which is a saturated fatty acid. Whilst saturated fats generally raise blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease, cocoa butter is an exception as research has shown that cocoa butter does not raise cholesterol as might be predicted by its saturated fatty acid content. Cocoa Butter has a neutral effect on blood cholesterol levels.
For more information on different types of fat and making healthier choices, visit the Health Canada website
You will find a full break down of the fat content of each product within the What We Make page of our website. Simply click on the picture of the product you are interested in and then go to the Nutrition information link. If you can’t find what you're looking for then please contact us.
- How much caffeine do your products contain?
Caffeine occurs naturally in coffee, tea, and to some degree, cocoa beans. However, cocoa beans contain a very small amount of caffeine (0.2-0.4%) compared to coffee which contains 1.2-1.4%.
Theobromine is is also found in cocoa beans (1.5-3%). Theobromine is a molecule from the same family as caffeine and is a mild stimulant and is said to contribute towards the typically bitter taste of cocoa.
Levels vary greatly in chocolate products depending on the amount of cocoa solids. More cocoa is used in darker chocolate therefore the level of theobromine is higher the darker and higher cocoa solids chocolate you buy.
White chocolate which uses only cocoa butter from the cocoa bean contains only small traces of theobromine since it is not carried in the cocoa butter.
The only chocolate that does contain a relative percentage of caffeine is our Espresso chocolate which contains 5% real coffee.
Our Organic Espresso Chocolate bar contains 23mg of caffeine per serving and 48mg of theobromine per serving (40g).
Our Organic Dark 70% Chocolate bar contains 6 mg of caffeine and 48mg theobromine per serving (40g).
Our Organic Milk Chocolate bar contains 3mg of caffeine and 24mg theobromine per serving (40g).
Assuming our drinks are made up according to the label instructions:–
- • Our Organic Fairtrade Cocoa Powder will contain 0.7mg of caffeine and 5mg theobromine per cup (~190g)
- • Our Organic Hot Chocolate will contain 2mg of caffeine and 18mg of theobromine per cup (~190g)
By way of comparison, here are the caffeine contents of some other drinks:
- • tea ranged from less than 1 mg to 90 mg of caffeine per serving (mean 40 mg)*
- • instant coffee ranged from 21 mg to 120 mg of caffeine per serving (mean 54 mg)*
- • ground coffee ranged from 15 mg to 254 mg of caffeine per serving (mean 105 mg)*
*Values taken from April 2004 UK Food standards Agency Survey Per serving = per cup 190g or per mug 260g
If you are pregnant, please consult your doctor or Accredited Practicing Dietitian (Australia) or Registered Dietitian (New Zealand) for advice for more information on caffeine consumption during pregnancy.
- Does chocolate contain antioxidants?
At Green & Black's our aim is to make the best-tasting chocolate we can from the finest organic ingredients. Many of our products use dark chocolate which has higher cocoa solids content, but even our milk chocolate has 34% cocoa solids compared to the average which is around 20%.
Dark chocolate has been shown in studies to lower blood pressure (Journal of the American Medical Association 2007; 298: 49-60).Eating more dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure if you have mild to high blood pressure, say the researchers. Remember to balance the calories from chocolate and in the rest of your diet by being active and eating a healthy, balanced diet. We use a high cocoa content in our products due to the intense flavour it delivers, not due to the proposed health benefits.
Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, specifically cocoa polyphenols. Antioxidants can help to combat free radicals, destructive molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other ailments. Naturally occurring antioxidants are found in most plants including fruit and vegetables, as well as cocoa.
We have tested our bars for polyphenols through an independent laboratory and for epicatechin, a flavanol which also falls into the polyphenol group:
- • G&B's Organic Dark 70% Chocolate – 2.2% Total Polyphenols
- • G&B’s Organic Dark 70% Chocolate – 1040 ppm Epicatechin
- • G&B’s Organic Milk Chocolate – 0.5% Total Polyphenols
- • G&B’s Organic Milk Chocolate – 320 ppm Epicatechin
- • G&B’s Organic Fairtrade Cocoa Powder – 4% Total Polyphenols
- • G&B’s Organic Fairtrade Cocoa Powder – 2270 ppm Epicatechin
- • G&B’s Organic Dark 85% Chocolate – 2.3% Total Polyphenols
- • G&B’s Organic Dark 85% Chocolate – 1080 ppm Epicatechin
- What is the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance?
Our products contain a variety of different ingredients and are suitable for a range of diets. You can identify if a product contains certain ingredients by clicking on the product and checking the "contains symbols".
suitable for vegetarians
A true food allergy or (food hypersensitivity) is the overreaction of the body to an otherwise harmless food or food component.
In a true food allergy, the body's immune system mistakenly identifies a component in food as harmful and produces antibodies against it. The antibodies recognise the “harmful” particle and trigger an immune response. Symptoms may include: hives, shortness of breath, hypotension (dangerously low blood pressure), cardiovascular collapse, and in severe circumstances even death.
Under Food and Drug Regulations for Enhanced Labelling of Food Allergens, a specific list of allergens must be identified on food labels to ensure that consumers are informed of the complete contents of the food. This ensales consumers with allergies to identify any ingredients that may be present. The allergen list includes: peanuts tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts (filberts), macadamia nuts, pecans, pinenuts, pistachios, walnuts), sesame seeds, milk, eggs fish, crustaceans (e.g. crab, crayfish, lobster, shrimp) and shellfish (e.g. clams, mussels, oysters, scallops) soy, wheat and sulphites.
A food intolerance is a general adverse reaction to foods and does not involve the immune system, but it is triggered by a range of other factors. Generally, the severity of the symptoms in a food intolerance is proportional to the amount of the food ingested. This differs from a food allergy: in food allergies, even a small amount of the allergen can lead to a full blown anaphylactic reaction. Symptoms are usually gastrointestinal such as nausea, stomach cramps, heartburn, diarrhoea, headaches or vomiting.
We understand that avoiding some foods that can cause allergies or intolerances can be a difficult task. We hope therefore that the nutrition page showing the "contains symbols" for each product, will be helpful.
- Your Packaging States that the product ‘Contains’ and ‘May Contain’ certain allergenic ingredients. What does this mean?
You may have noted that the allergen warnings on our packaging are changing. There is no change in the recipe and therefore no change in the risk to allergy sufferers – this is simply a change to how we are expressing this risk on pack.
In line with Standard 1.2.3 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and best practice guidelines the following labels are now being used on packaging. You will start to see these changes over the coming months:
- Contains: indicates that the ingredient(s) is present in the recipe.
- May Contain: indicates that the ingredient(s) may be present in the manufacturing environment. There are no safe levels stated for the possible presence of allergens due to cross contamination of allergenic foods. There is a risk of cross contact during handling and manufacture and therefore we list the allergens that may be present under the ‘May Contain’ heading.
- Which of your products are Fairtrade?
All our Maya Gold range is Fairtrade certified (e.g. bars, hot chocolate, Easter eggs). In fact, our original 100g Maya Gold bar was the first product in the UK to be awarded the Fairtrade mark in 1994. Green & Black’s Cocoa Powder is also Fairtrade certified.
- How fairly do you treat your suppliers?
When Craig Sams founded Green & Black’s it came naturally to him to work with suppliers in a partnership arrangement that was fair, respectful and sustainable. Since then we have been striving to ensure that every supplier, processor and grower is treated with the same respect. That way they continue to be happy to sell to us, we remain true to our own guiding principles, and the world can continue to enjoy Green & Black’s organic chocolate.
- I've heard that children work on cocoa farms - is this true?
Cocoa is grown on smallholding farms and at certain times of the year such as harvest the whole family may work together, similar to what happens on family farms all over the world. We believe that children have a right to be in school and we consider it unacceptable for children to be working when they have the opportunity to be in formal education. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) (an agency of the United Nations) recognises that a child may help out on the family farm for a few hours a week after school or at the weekend – but it is obviously unacceptable for a child to be ‘doing work that is damaging to his or her mental, physical, and emotional development’ (ILO).
Over many years we have established close links with the communities where our cocoa comes from. And we have been working with farmers to help increase their cocoa productivity so that they can have a decent livelihood and afford to support their families and children, including their children’s education...
- Why aren’t all your products Fairtrade?
We share the aims of the Fairtrade movement – paying a fair price, developing strong supplier relationships, and investing in local infrastructure to improve lives for the communities. Our founders considered this to be simply the right way to do business and this attitude continues in our practices today – whether or not there is a Fairtrade logo on the wrapper. The Fairtrade model was initially developed to allow producer cooperatives in less developed countries to trade with richer nations through a protective scheme. Whilst this works well for some products, there are many delicious organic ingredients that are not available from organisations which are part of the Fairtrade certification scheme.
In addition, all our chocolate is made from organic, Trinitario-type cocoa; quality beans that command a substantial price premium. The price we pay, therefore, is significantly higher than the market price, so we know that the farmers get a fair deal from us.
We support, respect and admire the work that the Fairtrade Foundation does to educate consumers about ethical spending, and we are proud to operate our own ethical business practices, even when it is not possible for us to use the Fairtrade mark.
- Where can I buy your products?
Available nationwide in most grocery stores including Loblaw, Sobey's, Metro, Save-On Foods , drug stores including Shoppers Drug Mart & London Drugs as well as most natural health food and organic stores
- How should I store your chocolate?
Micah, our Head of Taste, advises that chocolate should be kept in a cool, dark place, with a temperature of less than 20 degrees centrigrade. It should also be stored away from strong odours as chocolate will absorb other flavours due to its high fat content.
Lots of people like to keep their chocolate in the fridge which is also fine but it is advisable to store it in a Tupperware box or sealed plastic bag – again, to ensure it doesn’t become tainted by strong flavours from other foods in the fridge.
- What should I do if I have a question about the product I’ve bought?
We hope you will be able to find lots of information about our products within this website. Each product page contains ingredient, nutrition and packaging information along with details about its suitability for people with food intolerances. However if you can't find what you're looking for then please contact our Customer Services team on the link below.
We are proud of our range and take our product quality very seriously. If you are not completely happy with any of our products, we want to hear from you so we can do something about it. Click here to contact our customer services team.
What has changed with your milk allergen labelling?
- Why has the allergen warning changed?
The new communication on packs and on our website will highlight milk as an ingredient in its previously labelled ‘vegan’ dark organic chocolate bars. As both the milk chocolate and dark chocolate bars are made using the same production line there is a risk of cross contact. A recent audit revealed that traces of milk residues can still be found on manufacturing equipment despite intensive cleaning.
- Has the recipe for dark chocolate changed?
No, the recipe has remained the same since 1998.
- Is the product being manufactured in a different factory or on different equipment?
No, the facility and the process have also remained the same.
- Why might there be traces of milk in the dark chocolate?
As we make Green & Black’s dark organic chocolate bars on the same production line as milk chocolate bars there will always be the possibility of some cross contact. It is impossible to remove all traces of milk residues from the equipment.
- What level of milk would be safe for a milk allergy sufferer?
There is no clear data for this and experts differ on what is safe. Some suggest 5ppm casein is sufficient to cause an attack in severe sufferers. As a result we are ensuring that our labelling clearly lists milk as an ingredient.
- How much milk is present in Green & Black's dark organic chocolate?
This is not possible to state without testing bars from each batch although we know that in some cases it may exceed the 5ppm that some scientist's state can cause a reaction.
- Why can’t the equipment be cleaned more effectively to remove the milk?
Whilst intensive washing with water and detergent could achieve the removal of the allergenic casein it is not practical to use water in chocolate handling equipment. The most practical method involves flushing the equipment with dark chocolate until the milk chocolate residues are removed. This is highly effective but still cannot guarantee the removal of all traces of milk protein residues.
- Why can’t you make your dark chocolate on a dedicated line?
The restrictions for organic segregation and the design of plant we need for our type of chocolate restricts the availability of equipment. We are looking at alternative equipment and hope in the future to reverse this change.
- I have a casein allergy and have been eating your dark chocolate for many years without a problem. Can I continue to do so?
There is actually no change to the risk but we are unable to advise you if this is safe for you to consume. What we are now clearly stating on pack is that we cannot guarantee the absence of milk. It is almost certainly going to be present – albeit at a low level.
- The vegan statement has gone; has the product ever been suitable for vegans?
By definition vegan products contain no ingredients derived from animals within the recipe and this still remains true for Green & Black’s dark chocolate. However as our dark chocolate is made on the same production line as our milk chocolate there is some risk of cross contact. As a result, the desire for clearer allergen labelling now conflicts with the vegan statement and we have removed it from our labelling.
- The ingredient list will show organic whole milk powder. Is this now an ingredient in Green & Black's dark chocolate?
No, the decision to show milk as an ingredient was simple. Unfortunately we can not guarantee that our dark chocolate will be free from traces of milk as it is made on the same production line and we have therefore included it as an ingredient to ensure consumers, especially milk allergy sufferers, are aware of the possibility.