You may not know me, but will you be my Valentine? Perhaps a veil of mystery surrounding a secret admirer would make us giddy, but from a chocolate bar’s ingredient list—definitely not. Behind the heart-shaped treats wrapped in innocent pink wrappers, many of the chocolate goodies exchanged on Valentine’s Day contain hidden high-risk GMO ingredients. Beet sugar, soy lecithin, corn syrup, soybean oil, and cornstarch are all at high-risk for being derived from genetically modified crops. In 2015, genetically modified sugar beets accounted for nearly 60 percent of the annual sugar production in the United States, and much of those GMO crops ended up in sweets. Now that’s heartbreaking!
There are, however, many chocolate producers leading the industry towards a more transparent, non-GMO future by formulating their confections to meet our rigorous non-GMO standard. Manufacturers have begun to use non-GMO dairy products for their milk chocolates, and consumer demand has influenced many companies to switch from beet sugar or corn syrup to non-GMO cane sugar. In fact, there are currently more than 2,000 Non-GMO Project Verified candy, chocolate, desserts, and sweeteners in our database.
To celebrate a non-GMO Valentine’s Day, we visited Theo Chocolate. This chocolatier is based in Seattle, Washington and is one of the leading organic, Fair Trade and non-GMO chocolate factories in the country. The company has taken leaps beyond the standard cocoa and sugar market, resulting in a high-quality product and many happy chocolate nibblers.
Theo works with the cacao growers in the lush tropics of Peru and the Democratic Republic of Congo on organic and non-GMO community farms. Sustainable farming methods and a Fair Trade business model help to preserve the natural biodiversity and future integrity of the land. From providing non-GMO ingredient transparency in the chocolate market to positively impacting the lives of over 4,000 Fair Trade farmers, Theo is helping to bring trust, and most importantly love, back into our chocolate.
To put it short and sweet, when shopping for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day, be sure to put non-GMO treats at the top of your list. Let’s celebrate this day of love with non-GMO chocolates that feed the soul.
Watch the video of our field trip to Theo Chocolate factory here.