Intentionally choosing sustainable + ethical brands is an important part of my personal life as well as what we promote here at Flourish! We believe that we can impact change not only in the industry but also in people’s lives through the brands we support. We hope you enjoy this new monthly Sustainable Brand Feature highlighting brands that are making a difference!
Do you have a favorite sustainable brand? Please let us know in the comments so we can keep adding!
Sustainable Brand Feature | Endorfin Foods
Oh my, you all know I LOVE my chocolate and Endorfin Food’s chocolate is one of my go to brands. Their flavors are delicious and with the best, not overly sweet aftertaste and their chocolate is SO creamy. I’ve never tasted chocolate so pure! I have been blown away by their sustainability and ethical practices—they truly are going the extra mile!
Q // How is Endorfin Foods doing business differently from a sustainability standpoint?
We prioritize sustainable practices and packaging as much as we prioritize making confectionary art. We are committed to using plant-based biofilms, vegetable-based inks, and compostable materials for 100% of our packaging. We’re dedicated to going the extra mile to ensure we’re doing the best for not only our growers and farmers throughout our supply chain, but also for the environment and the planet we call home. We make sure the growers we work with are using regenerative farming practices so that we work in unison with the environment.
What does the chocolate making process look like from farmer to chocolate bar?
We’re committed to excellence from tree to tongue. We choose to work with small farmer cooperatives in Columbia and Ecuador that are growing some of the world’s finest strains of caco and using regenerative farming techniques that work to keep the soil and environment healthy, not deplete it. We always ensure that farmers are paid well above market rates for the hard work they do. Once cacao is harvested and fermented, we have it processed into cacao liquor or paste (100% cacao) within the country of origin. This sets us apart from many chocolate companies, as we are providing more value in the country of origin, and creating and maintaining more jobs there. It also means that we are minimizing 20-30% of the emissions for all the cacao we use—most companies ship whole beans around the world, then winnow them locally, which means 20-30% of the shipping weight, cost, and emissions are lost due to the husk, which is inedible. We then ship our custom-made 100% cacao to California, where it is finished and made into bars. This final step is vital, as it is where coconut sugar and caramelized coconut “mylk” (made from whole coconut chips) is incorporated into each and every bar—no other company does this, and it is truly what makes our bars stand out in terms of flavor and texture.
What’s your biggest lesson learned in building a brand and sustainable business model?
In our experience, finding a pro bono business advisor as early as possible and leaning on them throughout the life of our business has been very helpful. Things really changed for us when we integrated asking for advice into our business practice. We recommend Start Small Think Big highly for business support. There are many entrepreneurs to draw experience from so that you don’t have to learn by trial and error on your own, but can sit down with someone with experience who can offer critical advice to help your business succeed.
What are the biggest barriers to creating a sustainable business model and how can this be reflected in the price of the product?
When we first opened for business, there was no one else using compostable packaging, so we had to be an innovator in that arena. We had many packaging failures along the way, but ultimately it paid off because people started jumping on the bandwagon.
Achieving scale to make sustainability goals possible is another important piece of creating a sustainable business model. Because sustainable packaging tends to be more expensive than single use packaging, buying in bulk can really make a difference. Being able to offer our bars at a lower price point because we bought our compostable packaging in bulk opened the market for us and allowed us to reach people with a more economical price point who still wanted to buy high-quality, delicious chocolate.
When chocolate is labeled as ‘fair trade’ what does that actually mean for the artisans + farmers and why should this matter to the consumer?
The Fair Trade certification is very important, as it puts people and planet first over profit alone. Because every product bought and sold is connected to someone’s livelihood, the fair trade certification was brought to life to make a conscious choice to do business for the greater good and to promote a conscious economy. A choice for Fair Trade Certified goods is a choice to support responsible companies, empower farmers and small businesses, and protect the environment. In other words, it’s a world-changing way of doing business. For us, doing good doesn’t stop at with this certification – we also provide additional compensation to our farmer partners for practicing organic farming principles, for quality (specifically, better fermented cacao), and we were also the first chocolate company in the world to create a compensation package for farmers that grow their cacao in regenerative agroforestry plots, which includes metrics around watershed management, maintaining local biodiversity, preserving heirloom genetics, and more.
Favorite chocolate flavor + why?
Our Golden Mylk bar with turmeric, cardamom, and black pepper is an all-time favorite. This bar was brought to life through a very successful Kickstarter campaign that gave us the opportunity to add this bar to our collection; we aimed to raise $5,000, and instead raised $60,000! We were blown away by the support of our community, and for that we adore this fan favorite. All of our golden mylk chocolate bars are crafted with care using organic fair trade cacao butter, coconut sugar, and wholesome chocolate with real ingredients. Every bar we make, including the Golden Mylk bar, is dairy free, soy free, gluten free, agave free, GMO free, and never contains refined sugar.
What are some of your other favorite sustainable + ethical brands?
We are fortunate and passionate to work alongside brands who prioritize sustainable and ethical business as much as we do. We love working with The Coconut Cult (Probiotic coconut yogurt and gelato), SŌMATIK (handcrafted cannabis edibles made with our chocolate), and local small businesses in the Bay Area such as Oaktown Spice and Five Flavors Herbs. We love partnering with similarly aligned small, local businesses who are working as a force for good.
What excites you to wake up and do the work each day?
We’re deeply passionate about making the best confectionary art we can and playing with new combinations of flavors with our chocolate. When we make our monthly chocolate subscription bars (exclusive to subscribers), we get to mix and match interesting flavor profiles to discover new delicious combinations. Getting to play with these different combinations on a regular basis brings a lot of joy into our day-to-day work, and allows us to invent new limited edition flavors for our monthly subscribers such as Strawberries N’ Cream and Olive Oil and Breadcrumb. Our monthly chocolate subscription is a great way to get to geek out over delicious cacao, get to know our chocolate, and get incredible, unique bars delivered right to your door monthly.
I hope you enjoy connecting with Endorfin Foods!