It all started back in 1991 when Craig Sams, founder of Whole Earth – the UK's pioneering organic food company – was sent a sample of dark 70% chocolate made from organic cocoa beans.
His wife, Josephine Fairley, environment columnist for The London Times and confirmed chocoholic, found the half eaten bar on Craig's desk and sampled some herself. The bold, rich flavor was unlike anything Jo had tasted before, and she was convinced other chocolate lovers would appreciate it in the same way.
Jo and Craig set out to bring to the masses the world's first organic chocolate. The result was a high-quality, bittersweet dark chocolate bar, packed with 70% cocoa solids - enough to make chocolate fans sit up and take notice.
Not surprisingly, the brand began to build a loyal following. Then in 1994, while Jo and Craig were vacationing in Belize, they discovered how local cocoa farmers were being harmed by decreasing cocoa prices. They agreed to pay the farmers a fair price for their crops and created the flavor of Maya Gold®, which was inspired by the ancient Kukuh drink traditionally enjoyed by the Mayan farmers.
This way of doing business didn't seem different to them - it just seemed right and came naturally – and in the process, the Maya Gold brand earned the UK's first Fairtrade mark.