Bitzel’s Chocolate Shares Commitment To Sustainable Practices

Georgia Chocolatier Uses Local Ingredients and Certified Equipment, Works with Farmers to Ensure Its Treats Are Environmentally Friendly

ATLANTA, GA (June 25, 2024) – Fans of Bitzel’s Chocolate know that the Suwanee-based chocolatier creates thousands of delicious, high-end chocolate treats each day, thanks to a cutting-edge automated process using state-of-the-art machinery. But what many of them may not know is that Bitzel’s prides itself on crafting those treats with real, authentic ingredients and minimizing its impact on the environment.

“Everyone’s more aware of what they’re eating these days,” says owner and chocolatier Ray Bitzel. “They want to know where their food comes from, what’s in it, and that their enjoyment doesn’t come at the planet’s expense.”

That mindset is baked into the way Bitzel produces its mouthwatering line of chocolate bars, double-dipped truffles, bonbons, caramels, chocolate-covered fruits, and other delicacies.

“We’ve made a huge point of sustainability for several reasons, not the least of which is that we just think it’s a good thing to do,” Bitzel says. “Another is that it’s just smart business. The chocolate industry is going through a lot of turmoil right now, and one reason is that the price of chocolate is at a 45-year high. We’re working with farmers on ways we can help them be more sustainable and more efficient.”

Sustainability starts at Bitzel’s farms, specifically Costa Esmeraldas, where Freddy Salazar and his family have converted over 100 hectares of clear-cut forest to a thriving cacao and agroforest. It is far more profitable for the local economy with two yearly harvests that significantly reduce the need for additional logging and clear-cutting of old-growth forests. Bitzel’s supports these activities in partnership with its farms by paying more than three times the average price, allowing the company to receive the best beans. This is great for the environment and the community, which makes it sustainable.

Another way Bitzel’s has committed to a more sustainable model is by modifying its equipment. “When our gelato machines (pictured below) came to the U.S., they required water cooling, which would take 10 gallons an hour for each machine,” Bitzel says. “Multiply that by two machines, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and that’s about 175,000 gallons we’d be wasting per year just to cool the machines. We worked with the manufacturer to modify the machines and saved thousands of gallons of water. It’s a closed-loop system, which is more expensive up-front, but we don’t have all that water going down the drain.”

Bitzel’s also ensures that its machines are 1E4-rated “for super-premium efficiency,” Bitzel says. “That’s the highest grade you can get on chocolate equipment. As a result, our electric bill is much lower every month, a third or even half of what a factory of comparable size might pay.”

The company’s decision to operate more sustainably extends beyond its large equipment. Its packaging (pictured below) was designed for reuse and is so nice that most customers do not want it thrown away; instead, they use it for multiple purposes. Bitzel’s packaging is 100% recyclable and made with no heavy metal inks. Bitzel’s has consciously thought to minimize the size and weight in areas with single-use packaging. For example, its hollow chocolate packaging averages about 30 grams. Comparable products have packaging weighing over 200 grams. Even the gelato packaging uses zero plastics, using 100% recyclable paper cups and lids with at least 30% post-consumer paper.

“The spoons we use for our gelato are made out of compressed cornstarch instead of plastic, so they’re going to break apart easily in a landfill,” Bitzel says. “We also use magnetic closures for our packages instead of glue, which isn’t environmentally friendly.”

The same approach is used in Bitzel’s ingredients. “We use peaches, strawberries—real fruit, real nuts,” Bitzel says. “We don’t use chemicals or emulsifiers in our cocoa butter, and we source locally whenever possible, like our Georgia peach truffles or Georgia blueberries. Even our pecans are butter-roasted on a small farm in South Georgia.”

Visitors to Bitzel’s factory in Suwanee can watch treats made in real-time, from production to packaging. They can also see how cacao is harvested and learn about cacao growers and harvesters from Ecuador, Uganda, and the Dominican Republic while walking through an artificial cacao forest.

“We’re proud that guests can see how our quality products are made every step of the way, from bean to bar,” Bitzel says. “It’s not enough anymore to deliver a so-so product that looks like everything else out there. Our customers and corporate clients want affordable, high-end options, and they want to know that they’re not sacrificing the planet to get those things. We have all that, plus the most delicious, authentic chocolate you’ll ever taste.”

(Photo credit: Brandon Amato)

About Bitzel’s Chocolate
Bitzel’s Chocolate is a 7,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility located in Suwanee, Georgia. The factory is the brainchild of chocolatier and entrepreneur Ray Bitzel and his business partner and co-founder Dave Rose. Bitzel’s Chocolate features a line of affordable, chef-crafted delicacies prepared while guests move through the production process in a true Willy Wonka-style experience. This year, Bitzel’s Chocolate was named “Manufacturer of the Year – Small” by Partnership Gwinnett. Bitzel’s Chocolate is located at 453 Northolt Parkway, Suwanee, GA 30024, and is open Tuesday-Thursday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Friday-Sunday from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Learn more at