In October we’ve teamed up with Go Max Go Foods to giveaway two boxes of their chocolate bars to the subscribers of Vegan Package Swap living in the US. We always ask the winners to share pictures, videos or reviews about the prizes and this time, Laura Verduzco, one of the lucky winners on this giveaway sent us her review.
Laura’s review has positive and negative aspects about the products and we’ve contacted Go Max Go about the criticism in the case of the ingredients and their sources to hear what they had to comment about it. We thought it was the fair thing to do so here’s Laura’s review, followed by Susan, Go Max Go founder and owner:
“I was very excited to learn that I was the winner of a box of vegan candy bars and was eager to try them. The Go Max Go website claimed that the candy bars were vegan versions of American childhood favorites, so I could not wait to check that claim for myself. The first one I tried was the peanut butter cups because I have made my own vegan version and wanted to check how they compared. So, Cleo’s peanut butter cups are rich and very much taste like dairy milk chocolate.
Curious about the ingredients, I read the ingredients and was very surprised to find that all the candy bars contain corn syrup and palm oil. Buying anything with corn syrup is bad because corn in the USA is highly subsidized crop, so growers make a nice profit every time. This has lead to over-cultivation of corn (monocultives), which has negative impacts on biodiversity and soil nutrition and creates an oversupply of corn. This oversupply of corn is turned into cheap animal feed for cows, chickens, pigs, and other animals killed for food, which in turn leads to the production of lots of cheap meat. Also, because cows are not supposed to eat corn, they are always uncomfortable and have digestion problems that makes them fart much more (cow farts, aka enteric fermentation, is one of the ,main sources of greenhouse gas emissions).
About the palm oil: we know it is bad because farmers in Southeast Asia have been burning forests to “clear the land” and be able to plant more oil palms. This practie has killed large populations of orangutans, who have been burned alive in some cases, and destroyed valuable habitats. Luckily, Go Max Go sources its palm oil from fields certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. That is a great move!!
So, about the taste. I may not be the best judge of candy bars because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. the Go Max Go chocolates I tasted were very, very sweet, so I could only eat a little. That said, they do remind me very much of the traditional candy bars with dairy that I used to eat.
I appreciate the effort of Go Max Go to make food products without animal secretions. Thank you Go Max Go! But I would highly encourage them to rethink their ingredients and make candy bars that are less sweet (perhaps dark chocolate) and sweetened with something more natural (coconut sugar or agave, perhaps?)
Thank you to All About Vegan Food and Go Max Go for sending me the chocolates!”
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“I’ll answer the palm oil concern first. We’ve worked with vendors connected to the RSPO and the RSPO is doing good work. We’re now going forward with a vendor connected to POGI (Palm Oil Innovation Group). We will continue to support the efforts of growers who are making strides within this industry. There is a short read about POGI here: http://ran.org/palm-oil-producers-ngos-launch-responsible-palm-oil-initiative-rspo-agm
One mention I’d like to make regarding palm oil is that this industry continues to improve and it is not true that all palm oil is a byproduct of destruction. Many people assume this, however, we’ve followed the emerging trends throughout the years and it is very possible to source this item without contributing to any practice that harms animals or the planet. As a vegan company we’ve taken the time to continue to research the progress in this industry and we know a lot about the current practices as well as the future goals of growers.
As for corn syrup…we don’t source our corn syrup in the US. Our vendor is in Europe and we purchase, from them, Non GM, certified organic corn syrup. We pay three times as much for this corn syrup, but it’s worth it. This would be available to any company using corn syrup. It’s really up to companies to make the choice to support Non GM. The more demand for such, the more motivation to supply it.
As for the taste of the bars, well, that’s really subjective. The sweetner we use is natural, we don’t use any artifical ingredients. We may do some bars in dark chocolate at some point…we like dark chocolate. However, when we started Go Max Go we wanted old school candy bars and I think we hit the mark with that. There have always been a ton of dark chocolate options for vegans and we wanted to fill the void on what was missing…vegan “milk” chocolate bars that tasted like good old fashioned candy bars.”
(Go Max Go)