North America’s First Organic, Fair Trade Certified Chocolate Maker
The first organic, fair trade certified chocolate maker in North America, Theo Chocolate remains committed to pushing the industry forward today. Their approach to chocolate sets them apart as a company, and their model is based on a core idea — chocolate can be made in a way that allows everyone in the bean-to-bar process to thrive.
Together, Joe Whinney and Jeff Fairhall founded Theo Chocolate on January 27, 2005 in Seattle, WA. Joe was a pioneer in organic cocoa, previously creating the first company to manufacture and supply bulk organic cocoa and chocolate products for the US food industry. Jeff was a founder of Essential Baking Company in Seattle, WA. Jeff provided the financial resources to start the company, while Joe led the business. Debra Music joined as the Chief Marketing Officer and Joe and Debra operated as co-founders to build the company into a national brand.
Autumn Martin, Erin Holzer, Jessica Lundin, and Pamela Hinckley were all part of the founding team who helped build the company. Theo’s first chocolate bar was sold in March 2006.
Local angel investors provided funding for the company in 2006. After Jeff Fairhall passed away in 2007 his interests were acquired by existing investors to continue the Theo Mission.
From the cocoa farmer in the Congo, to the truck driver in Seattle, and the chocolate lover in Philadelphia, Theo Chocolate believes there is a thread that runs through us all. The choices they make in Seattle touch lives across the planet in real and lasting ways. That knowledge, and that responsibility, drives them to do things in ways that contribute towards a more compassionate and enduring world.
It’s why they make their own chocolate, to ensure that everyone is treated in a way that they can be proud of and that only the highest quality ingredients and processes are used.
They use third party verification to certify that both Theo and everyone they work with is being authentic in their claims; they have adopted stable pricing and opted out of the global commodity cocoa market, because the prices it pays are volatile and leave farmers guessing about how much money they’ll make year to year; and they offer full transparency throughout this process and along their entire supply chain, and are committed to work and trade directly with their suppliers to determine prices and visit all of their cocoa origins each year to make sure they’re understanding their circumstances and challenges as well.
Featured in our Holiday Gift Box and Holiday Subscription Box
Give the gift of local with our limited edition luxury Holiday Gift Box from INW Trading Co.! Handmade for the holidays, each of the items included in this gift box was made by someone who lives in the Inland Northwest. Treat yourself to a monthly subscription to INW Trading Co. to receive a box of goodies each month, beginning with our Holiday Subscription Box!