Here are some answers to the most popular questions we have been asked…

Is our chocolate fair trade?

Yes! But no!! We do not carry fair-trade certification. The way we see it fair-trade is an acceptable low bar to set for mass produced chocolate.  Our organic 100g bars are made from agro-forestry grown cacao coming from cooperatives in Peru that are both organic and fair-trade certified, prices paid are at minimum fair-trade premiums. We visit the cooperatives annually and are certain that the organisations in Peru are committed to building communities and  are paying the extra fair-trade and organic premiums to the farmers regularly. Beyond paying premiums, when crises such as floods or COV-19 impact the farming communities, there is both practical and financial support from the co-ops to help farmers through.

When we buy speciality cacao from single origins for our bean to bar range, we are paying significantly higher than the fair-trade premiums. Typically speciality cacao is bought wet from the farmer, and after the wet to dry conversion has been done the farmers are receiving minimum $3.50 per kg. World market cocoa prices change dramatically and frequently depending on a number of factors. We are working to create a new model where farmers can be assured of a consistent and respectable price for their cacao, creating lasting equality throughout the supply chain.

In the beginning we decided on organic certification for Chocolate Tree, we looked into fair-trade certification but basically we were operating out of a one bedroom flat on a shoestring and couldn’t afford the extra certification at the time. It’s a decision I am glad we made, as the fair-trade organisation particularly in cocoa has been under scrutiny for corruption and failure to get premiums to the farmers. There are several documentaries with evidence.

It has become clear to us over time that although fair-trade and organic certification schemes can add value to the supply chain, they can also become an obstacle. Our goal is to protect biodiversity and look after people, that won’t change. Just because a chocolate is not certified does not mean that it is either damaging to the environment or unethical.

Why we charge different postage fees to your Highland & Islands postcode

The reason your highland address prompts a different postage fee from the rest of the UK is because our courier DPD frustratingly don’t categorise highland and island postcodes as UK mainland, although Royal Mail does. This means we can’t offer the free delivery over £25 for highland and island addresses. For small parcels to the highlands and islands we will use Royal Mail instead of DPD, and the postage fee is either £3.95 for a light parcel or £6.50 for a slightly heavier one. Charging this postage fee helps cover our additional time to take the parcel from our factory down to the nearest post office in Haddington. To get the best value and avoid the postage fee our highland and island customers can spend over £60 to get the free shipping.

Do we use palm oil?

No. We don’t use palm oil (sustainable or otherwise) in any of our products.

Does our packaging contain plastic?

All bars are made from a home compostable inner wrap and FSC certified outer card (Zero Plastic!). Almost all the packaging we make is create is free from plastic, but with a few exceptions such as the lids of our bonbon boxes, which are made from favourable recycled RPET-plastic.  We are always on the lookout for new innovative packaging materials that are made responsibly and from sustainable natural resources. We will continue to do the right thing not because it’s popular, but because it’s the right thing to do. That’s why we didn’t get on the plastic free packaging train earlier on, as many of the materials being made were heavy weight and actually creating more emissions than plastic. Times have changed though, and the packaging industry is getting cleaner!

Is your chocolate gluten free?

Yes! We don’t use any gluten in any of our products, although we occasionally eat a sandwich at lunch so our products are not certified gluten free.

Is our chocolate suitable for vegetarians?

Yes! All our chocolate is suitable for vegetarians.

Is our chocolate suitable for vegans?

Mostly!! We don’t use any weird hidden animal products. We do however use UK organic dairy in our milk and white chocolate and cream in our classic and caramel bonbons, we use a bit of honey too which we sometimes collect from our own beehives. But our dark chocolate is dairy free, and that’s most of our product line. If it doesn’t say it in the ingredients panel, then it’s not in there. As we do use dairy and various nuts in our factory, there will quite likely be traces, so if you have a severe lactose or nut allergy please take this risk into consideration.

Shelf life

Most products, including all the chocolate bars and hot chocolates have 2 year shelf life from production, they don’t sit on our shelves for very long before they are on a retailers shelf. In some cases chocolate definitely improves with age (like a fine wine!) but not in the case of bonbons, which are best fresh. We don’t use any added preservatives, Friederike has maximised their natural shelf life by creating technical recipes that keep the ingredients pure and don’t compromise the quality.  The bonbons are being made fresh in our factory every week, they will typically arrive with 4 to 5 weeks until their best before date, caramels a couple weeks longer.

Where do we source our cacao?

Almost entirely South America, mainly Peru, but also Belize and Mexico. For more info check out our cacao sourcing page

What is the shipping time?

We typically ship out the day after an order arrives and it will go an overnight (UK mainland only) service which operates Monday to Friday. We don’t do weekend deliveries. Overseas or highlands orders going with the post office may take a few extra days as we have to physically visit the post office with the parcels, this happens at least twice a week.

I can’t select my destination at checkout

That’s because we don’t ship to your destination, sorry. We found that some destinations were just too tricky or expensive to ship too. If it’s really important to get our chocolate to and you don’t have a local alternative, then write to us we’ll do our best for you.

I am in a different country from the shipping address and my PayPal / Card won’t work

Get in touch, we can issue you an invoice and take card payment from a link.

What’s your Refund / Replace policy?

If you are not happy with our products or service for any reason please let us know, we love the feedback and it helps us improve. Provided you have a good reason to request a refund or replacement we’ll get it sorted.

Can I have free chocolate?

No. Well, maybe. Why do you want free chocolate? Are you going to do something really cool with it? We get quite a few requests from people asking to sample our chocolate before they order online. If you have a good cause drop us a line, we’ll consider it but nearly all of our donations are focused supporting environmental organisations via 1% for the planet.

I want to stock Chocolate Tree in my shop

Great! We supply independant retailers across the globe. Drop us a line and tell us more about your business.

I am here in (…..) where is my closest stockist?

Because we use distributors it’s hard to know exactly where all the stockists are! Our chocolate goes out all over the world. If it’s not in your local, then ask them to get in touch with us. If you write to us we’ll do our best to find out for you 🙂

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