Co-op Blog

All-One All-Delicious Chocolate: A Love Letter to Dr. Bronner’s

I am a diehard Dr. Bronner’s fan. Like, so much so, that if I go to stay the night at a friend’s house, or am planning a trip somewhere, and I forget my little mini Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, I will find the nearest co-op or pharmacy to buy one, even if it means I’m stocking up on another 32oz bottle that I’ll have to lug around. For me, there really is no substitute. So, when I found out that my favorite soap brand (let’s be honest, favorite brand, period) was making chocolate, I couldn’t help but be stoked, albeit surprised by the unexpected pivot from shower to pantry. But once I dug more into the “why” behind Dr. Bronner’s chocolatey endeavor, all the puzzle pieces came together, and it made me love them even more.

If you’re not familiar with Dr. Bronner’s, aside from making some of the best soap, their whole business is centered around what they call their Cosmic Principles. The 6 principles include working hard, doing right by customers, treating employees like family, being fair to suppliers, treating the earth like home, and funding and fighting for what’s right. And these aren’t just some lofty, fluffy, corporate goals to appease stakeholders. Dr. Bronner’s follows through on their principles, and oftentimes are quite unapologetic about fighting for the causes they believe in. Just take a look at their website, social media, or even the label itself and I think you’ll agree that they don’t just talk the talk, but they walk the walk, too.

dr bronners chocolate

Their newest line of chocolate bars is just another vehicle for them to promote real, impactful change in not only the conventionally destructive methods of cacao and palm oil farming, but in the lives of farmers, too. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one excited, but confused about the chocolate pivot, considering Dr. Bronner’s published a blog post about why they’re making chocolate in the first place. In the post, they quickly clear up the “why” by explaining that their move to make chocolate is about so much more than just making a tasty, low-glycemic, vegan sweet treat. In fact, the move dates back to 2009, when Dr. Bronner’s helped establish the world’s first certified organic and fair-trade palm oil project in Ghana called Serendipalm.

You’re likely aware of palm oil plantations’ nasty reputation for deforestation and the subsequent destruction of endangered orangutan habitats. By establishing this palm oil project, Dr. Bronner’s was able to help provide around 800 farmers with the resources they needed to move away from conventional farming methods that involved toxic pesticides and led to soil degradation and a heavy carbon footprint. After establishing these dynamic agroforestry practices, Dr. Bronner’s took the momentum they’d built to turn their attention to another commonly destructive industry: chocolate.

For years, the chocolate industry has made a profit at the cost of child labor, deforestation, worker exploitation, and even slavery. Fortunately, Fair Trade chocolate is becoming easier to find, thanks in a large part to chocolate cooperatives and concerned consumers. Dr. Bronner’s is now a part of that effort, working directly with farmers by supporting them in transitioning towards regenerative farming practices, while offering them fair, stable wages that allow them to earn an income that’s reliable, regardless of fluctuating market prices.

While supporting a better chocolate industry is reason enough to try Dr. Bronner’s latest concoction, the chocolate itself is pretty darn tasty too. Currently, we’re carrying their salted dark chocolate, salted almond butter, and smooth coconut praline. If you love a no-frills dark chocolate, the salted bar is the way to go. But if you’re like me, and prefer a bit of sweetness and texture with your dark chocolate, the smooth coconut praline is a must-try. It’s so rich and delightful that I’ve been whittling away at it for the last week.

I’ll leave you with this silly anecdote: when I was doing my shopping one day after work, I was looking for a sweet little treat to enjoy on my drive home. It was then that the sparkly glimmer of the word “MAGIC” caught my eye on the bottom shelf of our chocolate aisle. I’m embarrassed to admit just how giddy I got about finding the elusive Dr. Bronner’s chocolate bar, and I’d like to publicly apologize to the sweet couple looking at chocolate bars, that were likely caught off guard by the girl (me) who was too excited not to share the news with the closest humans who’d listen. I hope I wasn’t too wild-eyed and excitable. But I can’t help it, I’m a brand loyalist. And if you’re at all as passionate about Dr. Bronner’s soap as I am, I hope you have that same giddy, childlike reaction to their chocolate, too.

By: Leigha

Leigha is the Marketing Assistant at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op.