The chocolate industry is notorious for its involvement in deforestation and other unsustainable practices. But UK brand Prodigy has set out to change that.
Following an agreement made at the COP26 Summit to end deforestation, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson joked that guilt-free chocolate would soon be an option. But Prodigy says its products already fit that description — the company sources its ingredients sustainably and is carbon neutral, working with ClimatePartner to establish and offset its emissions.
Prodigy applies the same ethos to its packaging, which is not just plastic-free but plastic-negative — the brand funds the removal of ten plastic wrappers from the environment for each chocolate bar sold. Prodigy’s own wrappers are fully compostable, either at home or in industrial facilities. The company is also in the process of becoming a certified B-Corp.
To help tackle health problems such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, the brand has made all its chocolates vegan and free of gluten, refined sugar, and palm oil. According to the company, its products can also improve digestive health, with a Prodigy chocolate bar containing around seven times more fibre than a conventional one.
Prodigy is one of several companies looking for innovative ways to reduce the environmental impact of chocolate. In the US, California Cultured is developing cultivated cocoa which does not contribute to deforestation. Meanwhile, other brands are turning to the ultra-sustainable crop carob, which can grow in deserts, as an alternative to cocoa.
“Having worked in the biscuit and confectionery industry for over 16 years, I have seen first hand the perils of heavy industrial food processing, the use of synthetic ingredients, the toxicity of refined sugars and the negative environmental impact of plastic packaging,” Sameer Vaswani, founder of Prodigy, told FoodBev. “There was a burning gap in the mainstream market for the same indulgent treats but without the damage they cause to our bodies – through ingredients such as artificial sweeteners, colourings and GMOs – and the planet.”