Trü Frü’s Dark Chocolate Coconut Melts introduce a new take on the chocolate and coconut dessert combination. The bite sized snacks pack a punch of flavor, as the coconut is sourced fresh, then frozen, and then “hyper chilled” to ensure that both the “flavor and nutrition“ are kept in tact, as the company says. The Salt Lake City based company promotes a healthy and fresh treat, yet I am hesitant to call the Coconut Melts sustainable. The company has some work to do in regards to the levels of transparency they exhibit in order to earn the title of offering a truly eco-friendly good.
Clean ingredients is the resounding promise you’ll hear time and time again from Trü Frü. The company markets the fact that they source only clean ingredients and do not include additives or preservatives in their products, ensuring that their food is both tasty and good for you. The coconut melts are gluten-free and contain non-GMO ingredients, yet there is still a lack of transparency in regards to who the company sources from and their overall manufacturing process. The ingredients list is short and includes standard goods such as dark chocolate and coconut milk, as well as tapioca dextrin. Tapioca dextrin is the gluten-free thickener made from starches like corn that is used in the Coconut Melts to combine the ingredients. In researching the environmental implications of tapioca dextrin, I found that the ingredient has both a low carbon and water footprint, meaning that the good has a low impact on the environment. The grey area surrounding tapioca dextrin stems from the fact that I am uncertain about Trü Frü’s sourcing practices and whether the tapioca dextrin is made in a way that aligns with fair labor standards. There is also a lack of information when it comes to Trü Frü's sourcing practices regarding the coconut they use. Coconut oil has a large impact on the environment, as coconut production and cultivation threatens “18.3 species for every 1 million ton of oil produced,” which is an alarmingly high number. The majority of these threatened species reside in small island nations and the brunt of coconut cultivation occurs in larger countries, such as Indonesia and India. However, given that Trü Frü does not disclose where they source from, it is hard to discern if the coconut they use is sustainably produced or not, so consequently, I am hesitant to call the product downright sustainable. Additionally, it's important to note that the Coconut Melts are high in sugar. The Coconut Melts contain 13 grams of sugar per serving compared to competitor’s similar products, like the UnReal Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars, which contain 3 grams of sugar per serving. This high sugar content may pose a barrier to consumers who need to watch their sugar intake. The bottom line here is that consumers may want to be wary before purchasing or consuming too many of these treats.
Trü Früs main difference from their competitors is that they use a “hyper chilled” process to make their snacks, like the Dark Chocolate Coconut Melts. In this process, their fruits are picked fresh and then freeze dried in order to seal in the fresh taste and nutritional value of the fruit, or the coconut in this case, and then dipped in dark chocolate. However, Trü Frü offers little to no information about where they source their fruits from, only stating that they use “100% real fruit.” While it is reassuring that the company strays away from artificial flavors and additives, it is concerning that there is no available information on who their suppliers are and whether they follow fair labor standards. Additionally, the boom in consumer desire for coconut in recent years has increased the demand for the fruit, which has had harmful effects on the environment. With more demand comes the need for more production, meaning that more land has been deforested for coconut cultivation, which has threatened species and added to the monoculture practices taking over the agricultural industry. Therefore, I would argue that there is a need for greater transparency and a deeper evaluation of Trü Frü’s practices.
Trü Frü is dedicated to not only producing healthy treats and snacks, but the company also prides themselves on their promise to giving back to communities in need. The company donates an undisclosed percentage of their profits to Hope Arising, a non-profit organization that focuses on providing “humanitarian aid” to families in Ethiopia through building schools, increasing access to clean water, and providing healthcare services. In addition to their philanthropic efforts, Trü Frü claims that sustainable practices matter to them in a small blurb on their website. In this small section of their website, the company notes that they partake in a water discharge program that circulates recycled water to irrigation systems and they also adhere to “clean air emissions programs.” While these are worthy of being mentioned, there is a lack of information surrounding the specifics of their practices and standards.