It seems like everyone is trying to get into the “all natural” game, even candy makers. As a Celiac who obsessively reads every food label she comes across, I see this a lot.
The old standbys suddenly boast that they’re “made with real fruit!” “Contains 100% of your daily vitamin C!” “All natural!” “Gluten free!” But if you look at the back of the packages, you’ll also see that not much has changed—many of the confections also contain dyes, preservatives, and the enemy du jour, high fructose corn syrup. Worse, many of these candies either have crazy production methods, or an annoying amount of packaging that can’t be reused or recycled.
But what are you gonna do? It’s not like you’re going to stop eating candy. Please. You could examine the labels … or just check out these five awesome brands that are not only better for your body, but better for the planet as well. (Even if they taste just as sinful.)
For being just a five-person operation, Liddabit serves up a surprising range of unique, organic and local-to-New York treats, including honeycomb made with honey from the Fingerlakes region of New York, caramels with cream from Ronnybrook farms of the Hudson Valley and maple/apple lollipops that have sustainable bamboo sticks.
Available at Eat Boutique, ranging from $5.00-$75.00
Vosges Haut Chocolat
Not only does Vosges combine rich chocolate with unexpected yet delicious ingredients such as bacon and Campari, it’s working toward becoming wholly Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance Certified by 2014. The company also operates on 100% renewable energy, uses 100% recycled paperboard for their boxes, and vegetable and soy inks for printing. Looks like your Valentine’s day will be purple instead of pink this year.
Available at Vosges, ranging from $2.50-$295.00
JJ’s Sweets Cocomels
I first discovered these melt-in-your mouth cara—oops, cocomels–in a coffee shop outside of Pittsburgh last spring. I was delighted to find out that these vegan and gluten free cocomels are made with organic coconut milk, GMO free, and are wrapped in compostable wrappers. Batches are kept small—founder/CEO JJ says, “it is not our goal to provide a cheap sugary treat, but rather a high-quality, unique and transcendent sweet that should be cherished and shared.” Word.
Available at JJ Sweets, ranging from $3.99-$24.99
Endangered Species Chocolate
When I saw this on the shelves of my favorite health food store, I was a bit skeptical. This had to be some sort of come on, and the chocolate was probably awful. Not true on both counts—the company donates 10% to environmental organizations, produced in a facility that uses 100% wind energy, and the Rainforest Alliance Certified chocolate is delicious, especially the dark chocolate cranberry almond variety with information on the beautiful and mighty grey wolf.
Available from Vitacost, ranging from $5.99-$13.19
Gum and mints are a hard sell for health conscious folks–many traditional brands using alcohol and sweeteners to help mask breath and provide flavor. Not GleeGum—the world’s first fair trade gum doesn’t contain any of that nasty business and is eco-friendly, being made from chicle, helping to conserve the rainforest and comes packaged in biodegradable and recycled carboard. Who wants to makeout?
Available in a 3 pack for $11.99 at Drugstore.com
Kathleen Furey is the associate editor of LivLuna, a site devoted to helping women and girls kick a** and save the world in sustainable style. She’s an avid vintage shopper and shares kitschy pop culture fun on her personal blog, Furious Kitschy.