Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Theo Chocolate

By Marc Hamel and Ha Lam, November 26, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Marc Hamel and Ha Lam

We love our producers, suppliers and vendors and we think most of them have some pretty interesting stories behind their products too. We’re sharing some of our favorites here in an ongoing series.



Click here to view the video in YouTube.

To make Theo’s organic, Whole Trade® chocolate bars, sipping chocolates and roasted cocoa nibs, every single cocoa bean is roasted in a vintage 1930s ball roaster from Germany. In fact, nearly all of the machines in their chocolate factory are recycled and recalibrated from artisan factories in Europe. Just like the lengths that went into sourcing equipment, there is utmost emphasis on sourcing ingredients. “We built a company to make great chocolate and to have a huge impact on the people who produce cocoa,” says Theo Chocolate CEO Joe Whinney. From bean to bar, the folks at Theo hold themselves to exceedingly high standards, scrutinize every step of the process and ruminate over every decision, big or small. Fair trade, organic cocoa; local mint, cherries and almonds; recyclable (and beautiful!) packaging are just a few of the choices they’ve made to make the world better for producers, the planet and chocolate lovers everywhere. All of Theo’s attention to detail has earned the company numerous awards and accolades since they began in 2007. “It’s a labor of love,” says Debra Music, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We are acutely aware of the responsibility we have to create positive lasting impact.” As Music says, “Chocolate is an amazing vehicle for educating people, because as a culture we LOVE chocolate!”




Mark Hawthorne says ...
My partner and I just picked up some Theo coco nibs at Whole Foods -- we can’t wait to try them in cookies! We love the fact that Theo sources its cocoa from counties other that Ivory Coast and Ghana, where slavery has been found in the chocolate industry. It's an issue I wish more ethical eaters were talking about, and it's made me do a bit of homework before I buy chocolate. Fortunately, volunteers with a nonprofit called Food Empowerment Project (F.E.P.) have been taking the time to contact companies directly and find out where their cocoa comes from. F.E.P. even has a list of recommended companies. People can learn more at http://www.foodispower.org/slavery_chocolate.htm Thank you, Theo, for your commitment to integrity!
11/27/2011 12:30:47 PM CST
nik says ...
I have great respect for Theo Chocolate for their understanding and nurturing of every delicate link in the chocolate-making chain...and their chocolate is truly magnificent! :)
11/29/2011 3:49:00 AM CST
Claire says ...
I started buying Theo chocolate when I saw their delicious flavors and minimal ingredient list. Chocolate is delicious- it doesn't need additional fillers! I am hooked on their Dark Chocolate with Orange and have purchased several of their products as Christmas gifts. Would love to visit their headquarters in Seattle and take a tour- sounds like fun! Glad Whole Foods stocks this great product.
11/29/2011 12:13:41 PM CST
Jen says ...
I appreciate Whole Foods' efforts to educate its customers and to offer products from purveyors who are trying to make a positive impact on the the world. I also love Theo chocolate! Thanks!
11/30/2011 4:45:31 PM CST
Stephanie Daniels says ...
We LOVE Theo, both their amazing mission and their yummy chocolate. The future of sustainable ag and trade lies in this kind of business that has quality and responsibility at their core of their recipes and their practices. Our only sadness is that we can't always get their special holiday flavors and their fresh confections on the East Coast! Thanks for posting.
11/30/2011 4:47:28 PM CST
Kate says ...
Thank you, WF, for featuring Theo! So wonderful to hear their story and feel good about choosing their chocolate -- fair trade, organic and minimal ingredients is the perfect combination. And thank you, Theo, for making such amazing chocolate that even we food-intolerant people can enjoy! Keep doing what you're doing!
11/30/2011 8:52:23 PM CST
ken in st louis says ...
Theo is my favorite 85% chocolate. It's still flavorful without being too sweet! They should try making an 85% with strong mint.
11/30/2011 10:33:51 PM CST
Pam T says ...
Just finished Theo's Orange dark chocolate bar before seeing this....delishes!
11/30/2011 11:39:30 PM CST
susieQ says ...
I love this chocolate! I've tried all the flavors available in the store and have not found one that I don't like. The tour in Seattle is such a great experience. Talk about an incredible tasting room! I am impressed with the vintage machines and how they have been restored for use. Theo's attention to detail in all aspects of their operation is admirable. It all works together to make a great product that keeps me coming back for more!
12/01/2011 7:42:25 AM CST
Gail Northway says ...
Are these candy bars gluten free?
12/01/2011 9:20:46 AM CST
dominique says ...
There is o much to say! Incredible form the fact you r using recycled european machinery to the fact you visit your cocoa bean growers. I love chocolate so does my six year old girl! If by buying these kind of products we support you endevaour, you sure will have two very addept clients!!! My utter most respect!
12/04/2011 8:58:29 AM CST
Kathleen says ...
I always enjoy reading the stories of the Whole Foods suppliers and vendors and their creativity to bring desirable products to the marketplace while using guidelines to protect the environment and incorporate fair trade practices.
12/04/2011 9:20:30 PM CST
Stephie says ...
As a person with severe allergies to soy, I was SO happy to find these delicious chocolate bars! I love the milk chocolate bar that supports the Jane Goodall Foundation. Minimal ingredients, fair trade certified, amazing flavor!!! What more could you ask for? :)
12/29/2011 3:53:20 PM CST
Irving Henderson says ...
I am desperately trying to find an organic gluten free, dairy free, no sugar (organic honey or maple syrup is fine) chocolate bar. If anyone knows where I could buy something along those lines, please shoot me an email. "basicallyirving@gmail.com"
02/15/2013 10:04:41 PM CST
Erin says ...
Thank you for sharing this video. Your chocolate bars are amazing and I'm obsessed with them. I share them with my friends as a treat to spoil themselves for a minute by enjoying the pleasures that come with each little bite. I feel like I'm having this special moment every time I enjoy a bite of this phenomenal chocolate. I'm allergic to casein in dairy and soy. So these dark chocolate bars are perfect in every way. The favors are divine. I can appreciate the heart that goes into the picking of the beans and crafting of each bar. Thank you for supporting these people with the work they do to pick the beans and he,p make this chocolate a reality. Your an inspiration. Keep creating! Thank you
10/15/2014 11:38:48 PM CDT
Gary says ...
I'm 56 and have not been a chocolate lover, at all. A few weeks ago I toured the Theo factory and tasted my new addiction! Every day since, I think, plan and wait for my next taste of Salted Almond Theo! Thank you for partnering with Theo and the Earth. Taste and see....
04/02/2015 12:02:00 PM CDT