By: Katie Goudey, Senior Account Supervisor
You can’t talk about Halloween without mentioning all the sugary sweets and indulgent, calorie-rich treats that come with it. Today, however, more and more consumers realize it’s not just cavities or a growing waistline to consider when eating chocolate and candy. Retail-driven holidays like Halloween are a great time to think about the products we purchase – and the impact they make; not just in our own lives, but to the environment and the people who produce them.
As I shopped for sweet treats for Halloween this year, I uncovered a few ways to indulge in the candy I love while still feeling good about making responsible choices. The next time you’re at the grocery store, look for labels like Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade Certified or the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)* to know the ingredients in your candy were made with sustainability in mind.
Below are a few ways the ingredients in our favorite treats can be made more responsibly. In fact, 89 percent of Americans say they would switch brands to one that is associated with a good cause, given similar price and quality, and these ethical alternatives do just that.
Chocolate: Believe it or not, chocolate can be scary! Unfortunately, harvesting cocoa is no treat and a reality for many child laborers that work helping their families on cocoa farms. One way you can feel good about your chocolate is to ensure it is Fair Trade Certified, which guarantees farmers a fair price for their cocoa so they can make a better wage to feed their families and keep their kids in school. I’m a fan of the Unreal* chocolate cups and gems, made with Fair Trade Certified cocoa.
Coconut: Coconut farmers live in some of the poorest in countries like the Philippines and Indonesia. It’s no surprise the recent spike of interest in coconut-filled products and oils in the U.S. has added to this issue. I love coconut, so Nutiva’s O’Coconut treats are a great alternative. They are certified organic, non-GMO and made with Fair Trade Certified ingredients.
Sugar: Sugarcane is one of the most water-intensive crops, making a huge impact on many areas of the world where it’s grown. The sugar found in Wholesome Sweetener’s organic fruit chews are Fair Trade Certified, which means farmers in those community’s receive a premium that can go towards community and farming efforts like investing in more efficient equipment and improving their infrastructure to conserve water.
Nuts: Nuts found in many candies, such as almonds, cashews and hazelnuts, pose many environmental, social and economic challenges in the course of their production. Companies like Nestlé, for instance, are piloting programs in the hazelnut supply chain with the Fair Labor Association* that seek to eliminate child and forced labor in agriculture.
Palm Oil: Palm oil is found not only in chocolates and sweet treats, but also in many packaged goods like cosmetics and soaps. The production of unsustainable palm oil is rapidly destroying virgin rainforests and ecosystems, causing greenhouse gas emissions to rise and putting many species at risk of extinction. Look for the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) label to ensure you purchase products made with certified sustainable palm oil.
Will you be giving out Halloween candy you can feel good about this year? Happy Halloween!