SEATTLE--()--Theo Chocolate, the first and only Organic and Fair Trade certified bean-to-bar chocolate maker in North America, today announced that its Congo chocolate bar series will begin rolling out at grocery, drug, and specialty stores across the U.S. this month. Theo has partnered with Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), founded by Ben Affleck, to create its first-ever chocolate offering made from 100 percent Congolese cocoa. A portion of proceeds will be donated to ECI to improve the livelihoods of farmers and their families in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“Our Congo bar series celebrates the rich flavors and culture of the region, forging a connection between the cocoa farmer abroad and the consumer here at home. When this connection is made and people start to care about each other, great things can happen.”
“Our partnership with ECI is an extension of our company mission to create amazing chocolate while working to improve livelihoods and protect the environment in both farm and factory communities,” said Theo Chocolate founder and CEO Joe Whinney. “Our Congo bar series celebrates the rich flavors and culture of the region, forging a connection between the cocoa farmer abroad and the consumer here at home. When this connection is made and people start to care about each other, great things can happen.”
Theo created its Congo bars in two delicious new dark chocolate flavors: Pili Pili Chili, an intensely warming blend of cocoa, vanilla, and spicy pili pili peppers, and Vanilla Nib, a scrumptious mix of cocoa, creamy vanilla, and crunchy cocoa nibs. In keeping with Theo’s high sourcing standards, the cocoa, vanilla, and peppers used in its Congo selections are Organic, Fair Trade certified, and grown by Congolese farmers dedicated to quality and sustainability.
Theo and ECI began collaborating in 2010 in an effort to help farming families in the DRC emerge from poverty and violence by fostering economic opportunity through cocoa cultivation. Since that time, Theo, its export partner ESCO, and ECI have trained more than 2,000 Congolese farmers to grow high-quality cocoa. This value-added crop commands solid prices on the global market, serves as a major source of income for women, and is considered militia-resistant because its true value isn’t realized until it has been processed. Additionally, cocoa farming benefits the environment by promoting biodiversity and preventing deforestation.
“This partnership combines Theo’s extensive background building sustainable, fair trade supply chains around the globe with ECI’s history working with the Congolese people to develop economic opportunities that serve as a foundation for stability and success,” said Ben Affleck, founder of ECI. “Together we have the potential to help tens of thousands of people improve their lives in the short term and make a positive impact for generations to come.”
For the first cocoa harvest, Theo is importing 340 tons of Organic, Fair Trade certified cocoa from eastern Congo. This landmark purchase has the potential to positively impact over 20,000 people living in the region, increasing household incomes and improving access to vital services.
Theo Congo bars are currently on shelves at all U.S. Whole Foods locations. This month they’ll begin rolling out at grocery, drug, and specialty stores nationwide for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $4.99. To purchase Theo Congo bars online, learn more about the Theo-ECI partnership, or check out a visualization of the positive impact this effort can have in eastern Congo, visit theochocolate.com/eci.
About Theo Chocolate
Since 2006, Theo Chocolate has been committed to responsibly sourcing and manufacturing the highest quality chocolate in the world. As the first and only bean-to-bar maker of Organic, Fair Trade, Fair for Life, and Non-GMO certified chocolate in North America, Theo is creating delicious products while working to improve livelihoods and protect the environment in farm and factory communities alike. To find Theo chocolate at a retailer near you and learn more about how the company puts its passion into practice, visit theochocolate.com.
About Eastern Congo Initiative
Founded by Ben Affleck, Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI) is the first U.S. based advocacy and grant-making initiative wholly focused on working with and for the people of eastern Congo. ECI envisions an eastern Congo vibrant with abundant opportunities for economic and social development, where a robust civil society can flourish. ECI believes that local, community-based approaches are essential to creating a sustainable and successful society in eastern Congo. For more information, visit easterncongo.org.