FAQs

FAQ

Environment

How green is your packaging?

There are strict regulations concerning contact between food products and materials. We are always looking to improve our packaging in terms of its green credentials. Our current packaging is such:

  • Cartons: 100% recycled board for Easter. Forest Stewardship Council (see www.fsc.org) accredited boards used for our gift range, meaning that the boards have come from a sustainable source.
  • Plastic Easter Eggs: At present we use a layer of recycled material between virgin plastic due to food safety. We are looking into soya based materials that are fully biodegradable.
  • Paper: We currently use paper which is 100% recyclable. In our next print run we will be using a pulp which is 100% recycled.
  • Inks: Wherever possible we ensure that water based inks are used for our packaging.
  • Foil: Due to food safety standards virgin foil material is currently used for the wrapping of our block bars and Easter Eggs. This is 100% recyclable.
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 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 London office we make every effort to minimise our carbon output. Our office uses renewable energy sources, recycled paper, and energy-efficient water coolers. We also recycle and have installed video conferencing technology to reduce the amount we have to travel.

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 have any ideas for us? We are always looking for ways that we can be more environmentally friendly so if you can think of something else that we can do please contact Laura B with your idea.

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, board, foil and inks contributes to environmental damage so we use recycled paper wrappers for our bars, recycled board for our gift and outer boxes, and vegetable based inks or FSC materials wherever possible. Due to also strict rules on the use of recycled packaging in contact with food we cannot always use the materials we would like but we try to be responsible wherever we can.

However, there are often times when we know we can do better. For example, we’ve minimised the packaging on our Miniatures twelve pack. After some feedback from customers and a bit of creative thinking we completely redesigned the box.

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.

Are your products GM-free?

Yes – as all of our products are certified by the Soil Association, this ensures no genetically modified (GM) ingredients are used in their production.

Is your chocolate suitable for people with diabetes?

It is a myth that people with diabetes can't eat chocolate. Chocolate, if eaten in moderation, as part of a healthy balanced diet will not have an adverse effect on your long term diabetes control. It is important to remember that chocolate is high in fat and calories as well as sugar and therefore should be eaten in small and sensible amounts by people with diabetes as is recommended for the general population in line with healthy eating guidance.

We would advise all people with diabetes to consult their doctor or registered dietitian for advice or visit Diabetes UK website for further information.

Do any of your products contain alcohol?

Yes, our soft centred Mint and Caramel 100g bars both contain a very small amount of organic alcohol which is used as a natural preservative to ensure the fondant retains its quality.

Additionally, our festive Organic Spiced Fruit bars contains a mix of spiced fruit soaked in rum. Please see the Alcohol content of the Organic Spiced Fruit Bar 150g for more information.

Do any of your products contain alcohol?

Yes, our soft centred Mint and Caramel 100g bars both contain a very small amount of organic alcohol which is used as a natural preservative to ensure the fondant retains its quality.

Additionally, our festive Organic Spiced Fruit bars contains a mix of spiced fruit soaked in rum. Please see the Alcohol content of the Organic Spiced Fruit Bar 150g for more 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.

Fat is the most energy dense nutrient in the diet and we should all keep an eye on the amounts of fat and saturated fat we eat within our diet as it can be linked with obesity and heart disease. However, we do need some fat in our diet as it is required to keep our cells healthy. For more information on different types of fat and making healthier choices, visit the Food Standards Agency Eat well, Be Well 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 .

What are Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs)?

GDA s are a UK Government-recommended guideline to an average person’s daily intake of nutrients. GDA s are not a target but a useful way to compare foods and help people balance their diets.

GDA labelling shows the percentage of a person’s daily guideline amount of calories, total sugars, fat, saturated fat, and salt that is contained in each product and each serving of product.

You will find GDA information on all our products by clicking on the nutrition information link next to each product in our What We Make section.

What are Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs)?

GDA s are a UK Government-recommended guideline to an average person’s daily intake of nutrients. GDA s are not a target but a useful way to compare foods and help people balance their diets.

GDA labelling shows the percentage of a person’s daily guideline amount of calories, total sugars, fat, saturated fat, and salt that is contained in each product and each serving of product.

You will find GDA information on all our products by clicking on the nutrition information link next to each product in our What We Make section.

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 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. Theobromine is commonly confused with caffeine, but it has a ten fold less stimulating effect on humans than caffeine does.

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 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 Food Standards Agency Survey
Per serving = per cup 190g or per mug 260g

New data published in November 2008 by the British Medical Journal revises the levels of caffeine advised for pregnant woman to 200mg per day. We would advise you to consult your doctor or visit the Food Standards Agency Eat well, be well website 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 by being active and eating a healthy, balanced diet. We use a high cocoa content in our products due to the intense flavour it deliveries, not due to the proposed health benefits.

To read more about antioxidants in chocolate please see:

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 including cocoa.

We have tested our bars for polyphenols through an independent laboratory and for epicatechin, a flavanol which also falls into the polyphenolic 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 suitable for vegetarians

contains soya contains soya

contains nuts contains nuts

contains gluten contains gluten

contains egg contains egg

contains dairy contains dairy

contains alcohol contains alcohol

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 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 European Union labelling rules, 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 enables consumers with allergies to identify any ingredients that may be present. The allergen list includes: cereals containing gluten, eggs, lupin, milk, nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, soya, mustard, celery, fish, molluscs, crustaceans and sulphites or sulphur dioxide.

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 teh symptoms in a food intolerance is proportional to the amount of food ingested. This differs from a food allergy: in a food allergy, even small amounts of the allergen can lead to a full blown anaphylactic reaction. Symptoms are usually gastrointestinal such as nausea, stomach cramps, heartburn, diarrhoea, headaches and vomiting.

We understand that avoiding some foods that can cause allergies or intolerances can be a painstaking 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 current UK Allergen Labelling legislation 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.
Are the Eggs in Green & Black’s Ice Cream Pasteurised?

The whole eggs and dairy ingredients in our ice cream are bought in to the factory ready-pasteurised and then re-pasteurised as part of the entire ice cream mix before they are frozen down. If you are unsure of the correct diet to eat during pregnancy, we recommend that you contact your doctor or health advisor for advice.

In line with current UK Allergen Labelling legislation and best practice guidelines the following labels are now being used on packaging. You will start to see these changes over the coming months:

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.

Ethical Sourcing

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.

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.

Other

Where can I buy your products?

Green & Black's is now widely available across the UK. Most major supermarkets – Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, ASDA Somerfield – stock a range of our products as do most healthfood shops including Holland & Barrett. There are also several online retailers who offer a range of our products.

Where can I buy your recipe book from?

Green & Black’s Chocolate Recipes (Kyle Cathie, £14.99) is available in most good book shops across the UK including Borders, Waterstones and Ottakars. It is also available online at Amazon.

The book contains 100 chocolate recipes with ideas ranging from decadent desserts to savoury dishes with a twist. It also contains information about how the company was started and how the cocoa for our products is sourced. A selection of the recipes available in the book are also available online .

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.

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 has changed with your milk allergen labelling?

Why has the allergen warning changed?

The new communication 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.

What has changed with your milk allergen labelling?

Has the recipe for dark chocolate changed?
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No, the recipe has remained the same since 1998.

What has changed with your milk allergen labelling?

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 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 reluctantly decided to remove 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 very hard and debated for a long time. 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.