Chocolate Box pretty, but what’s inside?


The packaging is often the first thing you notice when you spot something new on the shelves, and a product’s packaging tells you a lot about the company that it’s connected to. For instance: are they using a lot of single use plastic, is the packaging unnecessarily bulky in relation to its contents, does the writing on the packaging contain helpful information about the company and its products, and what does the written information say about the ingredients used, especially in edible products? But there is a lot of other stuff to consider if you really want to understand if the company is running their business ethically, for instance how they source their raw materials, how their business impacts the natural environment, and how they treat their workers. If you visit the wonderful The Green Stars Project site, you will see that consumers (you and me) are encouraged to submit reviews using an amended version of the gold star rating system found on many retailer’s and review sites, by including a green star rating system based on social and environmental impact.

The product I chose for this purpose is Beyer’s Craft Gin Truffles, produced by Beyer’s Chocolates here in South Africa. I wanted to review a local product rather than imported, and chocolate seemed like a good idea, because when isn’t chocolate a good idea?! I had planned to post this on the shopping site, but I couldn’t find my chosen product for review on their stock list, so I decided to blog about it instead. Here then is the review:

Beyers Chocolates: Craft Gin Truffles, milk and dark chocolate

Ratings: (3.5/5 Gold stars*) /  (3/5 Green stars*)

Love the dark chocolate specially. Wish they had valid certification and less plastic. 3/5 green stars.
  • The box contains 9 chocolate balls in 3 varieties. Pretty, handmade chocs. All deliciously flavourful, although I found the Cranberry and Honeybush filling too sweet, and the milk chocolate outer generally a bit sweet. My favourite is the Classic Gin&Tonic filling, surrounded by rich dark chocolate.  The product is well priced, especially if compared to imported products of the same quality. The packaging is very attractive: a simple cardboard box, decorated with florals and other botanicals, although I didn’t like the thin plastic film that went over it. I checked the ingredients list and noticed that they stated merely ‘flavouring’ as one of their ingredients, so I went on to their website to find out more. The website states that they use no artificial colours or flavours, and that none of their ingredients are chemically treated. This is a big plus for me.
  • In terms of ethical rating, I like the fact that this is a local product,crafted in South Africa. The company’s website describes a very good record of CSR in terms of creating employment within their company and supporting ongoing training in the food and beverage industry outside of the company. In terms of their trading they state that: “Beyers Chocolates only works with companies that ensure a 100% sustainable cocoa supply chain. Our supply base invests in programmes that empower cocoa farmers by providing improved access to agricultural training and other support services. Additionally, the sustainability initiatives help to generate income for these farmers and their families, whilst also safeguarding the environment.” They also support the Amarula Elephant Research Programme, which studies elephant behaviour and develops conservation management strategies. All this considered, I am disappointed to see that they have no visible valid Certification: nothing stating Fair Trade or Organic and nothing regarding their cocoa supply chain. I found this disappointing, and found myself reluctant to award a high Green Stars rating because I felt I needed more confirmation of their position/ status. If they do have certification, I failed to find it on their website or see it on their packaging information.
  • I found that their packaging is sub-standard on a couple of things: They haven’t included any information about what ‘flavourings’ they use and whether they are natural or artificial, and I had to go onto their website for this. There is also no information regarding the packaging materials used and whether they are recyclable or compostable. I also feel that they could have included more interesting and pertinent information about some of their ‘green’ commitments and achievements, such as previous awards for providing learnership and employment opportunities. Regarding their packaging, I was quite shocked on opening the box to find that each chocolate ball was contained in a separate envelope of see-through plastic, and that in fact everything could have fitted comfortably into a box around half the size. The wasteful packaging and the amount of cheap looking, single use plastic was a big disappointment for me, both from a Gold Star and a Green Star perspective.
  • Another big no-no for me is that sadly the product contains palm oil. I can find nothing on their packaging or on their website that explains how they source this: sustainably or otherwise.
  • In conclusion, I would love to award this company a high score because there is a lot that they are getting right. However considering the fact that they have no certification, their poor packaging and labelling, including a lot of single use plastic, and their use of palm oil which is not marked as sustainable, left me awarding them a 3/5 Green Stars rating. For their Gold Stars I have considered that I enjoyed the dark chocolate option the best (that’s 3 out of the 9 chocolates), and that even though the box was very pretty it also contained cheap looking packaging inside. For this I have awarded them 3.5/5 Gold Stars.

8 thoughts on “Chocolate Box pretty, but what’s inside?

  1. jkaybay 2019-02-14 / 7:52 pm

    This is wonderful, Amanda! The review is well-balanced and, I think, fair.
    Thanks so much in taking part in the Green Stars Project!
    I hope it was satisfying to do this.


    • amanda 2019-02-14 / 9:58 pm

      Yes it was interesting and I learned a lot. I hope it was fair. I leaned a bit towards the things that are most important to me so maybe a bit subjective. But I also didn’t want to be too lenient about what can be reasonably expected from companies that are after all, harvesting from our precious resources. I sincerely hope that it’s fair to expect that these companies are doing something to ‘give back’ , and I was trying to measure this company against some kind of average in that respect and I found that quite challenging. Thanks for the opportunity 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      • jkaybay 2019-02-24 / 12:31 am

        Hi Amanda,
        I think it’s perfectly fine to focus on the issues that are most important to you. It’s hard to cover every possible issue. And yet, I think you did cover the most important ones. The score seems about right too. Thank You!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. annette 2019-02-18 / 9:37 am

    What really does my head in is all the instore promotions. Pnp are the worst. Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


  3. amanda 2019-02-18 / 10:29 am

    Yes it gets relentless doesn’t it? Crowding up the isles so that you can’t get to the bananas or milk or whatever it is you need! I try to avoid those distractions, declining firmly but kindly, I hope 😉


  4. rozpicsnz 2019-02-18 / 10:11 pm

    A pertinent post as we all find ways to move towards sustainability and zero waste. It is time for the consumers to start putting the pressure on businesses to change and I appreciate you highlighting one way of doing it. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • amanda 2019-02-19 / 9:48 am

      Agreed! What kind of world do we want to create, and to live in? I believe those are two questions we need to bear in mind, as consumers and as businesses. Most businesses/ corporates/ retailers and the like could be doing more in terms of ethical practice. Some are doing better than others and seem to be rising to the challenges as the issues around sustainability become more prevalent

      Liked by 1 person

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