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Facing up to an inconvenient truth: we’re part of the sugar problem

Facing up to an inconvenient truth: we’re part of the sugar problem
January 03, 2022


So let me get this straight, you mean you decided to confront the giant choco-covered elephant in the room?
Damn straight. ‘Health’ has been on virtually everyone’s lips since the start of the pandemic. And let’s face it, our choco owes much of its yum factor — between 27% and 54.5% percent, depending on the bar — to sugar. At the end of the day, however, even if we’re crazy about chocolate, we’re serious about people. 

But didn’t you already know you produced sugary products well before healthier lifestyles became the talk of the town?
Well duh. But it’s simply not in our DNA to shy away from talking about pressing societal issues. Thanks to Covid, health is, once again, a top priority. After all, we’re an impact company that makes chocolate, not the other way around. And besides, we were founded to tackle challenges in the cocoa industry, like modern slavery and illegal child labor. These will always remain our primary areas of focus. Sugar happens to be the inconvenient ingredient that helps make our work possible. 

And your big truth?
Well, when it comes to chocolate, it’s high time we talked about hitting that sugar sweet spot. To put it bluntly: while selling more cocoa beans is a win for our impact, eating too much of it is bad for your health. 

I’m a sucker for science. Can you crunch some numbers for me? 
Glad you asked. Since we’re by no means experts on the subject, we did do our homework: 

All news is not good news when you find out that an average person in our home country (the Netherlands) consumes at least 2 times the recommended daily sugar intake. Or that an estimated 60% of packaged foods and drinks purchased in American supermarkets contain added sugars.  

Meanwhile, we know that a poor balance between diet and physical activity is one of the primary causes of obesity in about 13% of people in the world, again linking to a very long list of serious further health risks. And we shouldn’t forget the even bigger picture — the direct and indirect costs of overconsumption include heavy burdens on healthcare, productivity and sick leave. 

Want to get down and dirty with even more sugar stats? Dive headfirst into our research here: 

Okay, okay.. enough talk about the problem(s). Got any palatable solutions?  
To be honest, there’s not one easy fix. We believe that to make a sugar change, we need a system change. We believe, for example, foods high in sugar and low in nutritional value should be taxed in the Netherlands — including our chocolate! That money rolling in would conveniently ease the transition from the current EU-wide 5% VAT to the proposed 0% VAT that foodwatch recently put forth for non-processed fruit and veg. 

​​​​​​​Plans for taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages are already on the table in some countries, including the Netherlands. But the Dutch government’s plan to “look into” a broader sugar tax scheme is still far too vague.. If you ask us? Goodbye goodwill, hello sugar tax. 

Cool beans. That sounds fair. But what responsibilities rest on your shoulders?
When it comes to sugar, all choco brands (ourselves included), be they big or small, need to jump on the educator bandwagon. 

This means openly admitting we’re part of the problem. This means proactively adapting labels and running campaigns to help Choco Fans make healthier choices. This means tightening our wallets and finding ways to funnel a piece of the pie back into the (health) system via the sugar tax. 

Sounds like a plan, Stan.
Hold up, hold up. There’s a spoonful of accountability for you to swallow too — we’re all in this together, remember. As is true for most good things in life, our choco is made to be enjoyed in moderation. Think: breakfast, lunch and dinner, NAY. A piece of pick-me-up-in-the-afternoon or treat-yourself-Thursdays, YAY. A good rule of thumb is also to follow the WHO guidelines — cap your overall free sugar intake at 50g per day to keep the Tooth Fairy (& co.) at bay. Let us help you out:
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​​​​​​​Wow. You really are fired up and comfortable with being uncomfortable. Any last words?
 
Let’s make 2022 the year of conscious choco chomping!