Accessible, affordable vegan chocolate with the potential to be very sustainable, NOMO Vegan and Free From Chocolate is an up-and-coming UK hit. NOMO has a ton of potential to be sustainable. They have a great foundation, and with the right targeted improvements, they could be a really sustainable company on top being an accessible vegan chocolate brand. Voted 2020’s Best Vegan Chocolate by Vegan Food UK, it’s safe to say that not only does this product have a lot of sustainability potential but is also great quality. At .90 GBP or 1.25 USD per bar, the price of these bars is super comparable to conventional chocolate brands.
These bars are made to be accessible to many diets. They’re dairy free, gluten free, egg free, and nut free. Thus, NOMO has made sustainable vegan chocolate accessible to the widest possible audience, which is a definite sustainable point in their favor! The ingredients list is as such: Sugar, cocoa butter, invert sugar syrup, rice powder (dried rice syrup, rice starch, rice flour), cocoa mass, inulin, shea oil, humectant (vegetable glycerol), glucose syrup, emulsifiers (sunflower lecithin, mono-and diglycerides of fatty acids), sea salt, flavourings. With cocoa, ethical sourcing is vital. Poor sourcing of cocoa is often incredibly exploitative. Thankfully, NOMO buys Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa. Rainforest alliance help forests and local communities. So it’s big that NOMO sources from farms certified by them. NOMO buys in a mass balancing system, which means that an amount equivalent to all the cocoa used in the Caramel Chocolate Bar is Rainforest Alliance certified, although not all of it in actuality might be. It’s cool but sort of convoluted, and you can learn more about mass balancing here: What is Mass Balance Sourcing? | Rainforest Alliance (rainforest-alliance.org). It would be awesome if all their chocolate in the future could be Rainforest Alliance certified, but this mass balancing process is a great start. NOMO also asserts that none of their products use palm oil, which is awesome to hear! And also a great level of transparency and consideration to include that on their website.
NOMO offers shipping to their consumers (in UK only), which is great in terms of making the product accessible. But also spotlights an area of greater carbon footprint. Building off that, I’d love to see NOMO undergo a carbon footprint calculation and publish it on their website! Transparency in this area would be huge.
With regards to packaging, NOMO admits that the metalized film used to keep their bars fresh isn’t recyclable. This is a really common issue with food products — our technology oftentimes isn’t advanced enough and keeping food fresh requires a material that isn’t recyclable. But NOMO states that they’re always looking for new and better eco-friendly packaging. I hope they commit to this claim, and pursue avenues of more eco-friendly packaging. NOMO also states that they’ve sent zero waste to landfills in the last 8 years (FAQ's | NOMOCHOC). This is super cool, but also very vague. I would love further elaboration on this. It’s evident that their packaging ends up in landfills, so does this statement mean that their production facility has sent zero waste to landfills? Is there waste going to recycling plants or being composted or other means of disposal?
NOMO is not certified Fair Trade, and I appreciate that they include this on their website. It tells me that they care about transparency. Hopefully they will become Fair Trade certified in the future. This will also help them to achieve a higher score for this section. NOMO is also not yet certified organic.
Owned by Kinnerton Confectionary, NOMO Chocolate is committed to making vegan chocolate accessible. They clearly care about transparency and I love to see that they admit some of their shortcomings, such as not yet being Fair Trade Certified or Organic Certified. They’re a company with great values and heart, and also have room for improvement. Discussion of sustainability is a little lacking on their website: elements like the Rainforest Alliance certification are covered thoroughly, but other areas are mentioned briefly but then not expanded upon.
NOMO states that they have a company CSR statement with sustainability goals, but when you click the link to view it it directs you to the Rainforest Alliance page, so I think there may be a website error here (FAQ's | NOMOCHOC). This statement about their CSR along with most of the other tidbits about their sustainability is located under NOMO’s FAQ page. I love the fact that it’s included on the website. For easier access I would love to see NOMO create a page on their website dedicated to sustainability, rather than lumping all the facts into an FAQ format. I wouldn’t intuitively expect sustainability information to be located under an FAQ.
NOMO has identified three areas in social responsibility initiatives where they feel they could make the greatest impact. These are Ethical sourcing and supply, Community engagement, and Consumer wellbeing. I think the targeting of these three specific areas is great, and in some aspects NOMO is doing great at addressing these. For ethical sourcing, they discuss Rainforest Alliance certification, and consumer wellbeing (especially allergen management) is the core of their business model. But overall I’d love to see more of this: more evidence, more intention. NOMO says they “encourage employee initiatives that support charities/communities, and [they] donate 1% of yearly profits to projects close to [their] values” (FAQ's | NOMOCHOC). I want this to be more front and center on their website, and also for NOMO to elaborate on this. What employee initiatives have been supported in the past? What projects is the 1% of yearly profits going to?
OUR BARS | NOMOCHOC
Home | Rainforest Alliance (rainforest-alliance.org)
FAQ's | NOMOCHOC
Our story | NOMOCHOC
NOMO 🍫 (@NOMOChocolate) / Twitter
What is Mass Balance Sourcing? | Rainforest Alliance (rainforest-alliance.org)
NOMO 🍫 (@nomochocolate) • Instagram photos and videos
Sustainable Chocolate – Kinnerton
The Cargill Cocoa Promise | Sustainable Cocoa | Cocoa & Chocolate | Cargill