In an effort to keep my reviews objective based on health topics, I structure each in the same way and allow my opinions to come through in the "Bottom Line" at the end. Here are my findings for ChocoNat.
IS IT ORGANIC?
Yes. ChocoNat has an international organic certification.
WHAT BEANS DO THEY USE?
ChocoNat uses high-grade criollo beans. This type of bean costs much more than forastero beans and are used for making artisan chocolates with complex flavors.
HOW IS IT PROCESSED?
There is no legal definition of raw, but the general concept is to process all ingredients without raising temperatures and cooking out enzymes and other nutrients. ChocoNat uses a cold process for its cacao and does not separate cocoa powder from cocoa butter or combine these at different ratios for their chocolate, but uses exactly the ratio found in the original beans. They use real vanilla bean (not an extract), raw coconut palm sugar, and sunflower lecithin.
WHAT SWEETENERS ARE USED?
ChocoNat once used raw cane juice as a low-glycemic (around 24), unrefined sweetener. As of this writing, they use coconut palm sugar, which some (like Dr. Oz) consider to be the best alternative to sugar.
IS IT FAIR TRADE?
ChocoNat works directly with their farmers, paying beyond fair trade prices. They have an international fair trade certification.
I have studied chocolate for several years and retailed raw chocolate for a time. I had wanted to get into a direct sales chocolate company, but since I was looking for something organic, raw, and fair trade, I wasn't satisfied with those available until I found ChocoNat. It wasn't until I started working with this company that I understood the difference between low-grade and high-grade cacao. I love this chocolate because of the quality I can tell it has and the overall chocolate experience it offers.
I also wanted to work with a company whose ingredients I didn't have to justify. Raw chocolate companies typically have a lot of integrity around the ingredients they choose, so you don't find questionable items in ANY of their products. Things like artificial flavors and sweeteners or protein isolates, etc. ChocoNat sticks with ingredients I can trust.
Eventually ChocoNat moved to a retail sales model (rather than network marketing). Because of the quality of the product, I still promote it through an affiliate link: you can buy it here.