Bennetto Natural Foods: About the Makers
Who: Founded by Lucy Bennetto (New Zealand)
When: Established in 2010
Products: Chocolate bars and blocks
Values: Fairtrade, sustainability, organic and natural ingredients
Certifications: Certified Fairtrade by Fairtrade International, Vegan Certified by The Vegan Society, Gluten Free - Coeliac Society approved
The Bennetto Story
Meet Bennetto Founder and chocolate maker, Lucy Benetto
Pictured: Lucy Bennetto
Bennetto Natural Foods was founded in 2010 by New Zealander, Lucy Bennetto. A passionate chocolatier, Lucy's hunger to learn about where cacao beans were grown led her to the Dominican Republic.
It was here that she witnessed firsthand the life-changing impact that Organic farming and Fairtrade partnerships have on cocoa farmers and their communities. Lucy quickly realised that ethical sourcing was a non-negotiable for her business, and discovered that using organic ingredients vastly improved the quality and taste of her chocolate.
In her kitchen back home in Christchurch, Lucy used an Indian spice grinder to refine the chocolate, experimenting with different ingredients and recipes which have become the Bennetto bars we love today.
Lucy and her team still make most of Bennetto's chocolate in New Zealand, with the exception of the 30g bars which are made in Switzerland.
Each bar is lovingly made by hand, and Lucy is still inventing new chocolate recipes for the world to enjoy.
Fairtrade Partnership with Acopagro
Pictured: Acopagro cacao producers in Peru
Bennetto now sources their cocoa from Acopagro, a Fairtrade co-op located at the edge of the Amazon jungle in the San Martin region of Peru. The co-op have over 2000 members who live in four provinces: Mariscal Caceres, Huallaga, Bellavista and Picota.
Acopagro's Vision is to
"Sustainably improve the income and quality of life of its partners."
Prior to 1994, many producers in this region were farming unlawful coca crops, the plant that cocaine comes from, in order to make a livelihood. Farmers were financially tied to drug dealers who could be volatile and dangerous. As a result, the local society was very unstable. A United Nations program enabled the farmers to transition to growing cocoa, which they have been doing exceptionally well for the past 18 years. As well as producing premium quality cocoa beans, the farmers are also helping to regenerate the local ecosystem.
Pictured: Acopagro Cocoa Producer, Gilberto Rodriguez Ortiz
"I believe my children will become cacao farmers, because the crop has experienced a systematic change. Our society was destroyed during the coca period, but now it's a well-ordered society and our children are following our example."
Peruvian Birds Artwork
Another thing that makes Bennetto Chocolate special is that every bar features beautiful artwork of native Peruvian birds (dressed in their Sunday best, of course).
The artworks are by New Zealand artist, Henrietta Harris. The pairs of birds that are found on each bar are also birds that are often found hanging out together in the wild.