Sweet news for chocolate lovers - and cocoa farmers - as more products added to Fairtrade

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

38% of UK shoppers are already making changes to their lifestyle and shopping habits to limit their impact on the planet, Fairtrade says. Pic: Fairtrade Foundation
38% of UK shoppers are already making changes to their lifestyle and shopping habits to limit their impact on the planet, Fairtrade says. Pic: Fairtrade Foundation

Related tags Fairtrade foundation Cocoa Chocolate Sustainability

Strong consumer demand for affordable, sustainable products will drive the Fairtrade market in 2023, the organisation said after a successful awareness campaign in the UK brought ethically sourced products, such as chocolate, bananas and coffee, into the spotlight.

Announced as part of the Fairtrade Foundation’s annual Fairtrade Fortnight (27 February to 12 March), the organisation said even when inflation means they have to change the way they shop, consumers still largely expect businesses to do the right thing in terms of sourcing. “Sustainability doesn’t have to be unaffordable,” it said.

More UK supermarket retailers now offer Fairtrade products as part of their value ranges, sold at low, accessible price points (while ensuring farmers don’t lose out financially), which is sweet news for chocolate lovers as Ecotone launched Alter Eco chocolate in the UK for the first time in 2022. Meanwhile Beech’s Fine Chocolate converted its beans to 100% Fairtrade. Belgian chocolate brand Guylian also announced a switch to sourcing 100% Fairtrade cocoa. Hu Kitchen converted all its cocoa to Fairtrade, as did Mighty Fine, Quirky Chocolate and Sweet Freedom. Premium organic chocolate brand Green & Black’s has announced the launch of a new range, Smooth, available in two flavours: Plain 50% Cocoa and Mint flavours.

Cocoa retailers

Discounters Lidl and Aldi were confirmed as the UK's two biggest Fairtrade cocoa retailers, while the last 12 months have seen the launch of Asda’s Fairtrade aisle in its online store, as well as the launch of Amazon Aware, the retailer’s own-brand range of affordable, ‘consciously created’ products certified by labels such as Fairtrade.

All this means Fairtrade continues to perform well in the retail space, the Foundation said. Fairtrade’s latest research from Kantar 2022 reveals that 77% of UK consumers have chosen Fairtrade products over an alternative. At the same time, Fairtrade Premium generated by retail sales of bananas, coffee, flowers and tea grew steadily in 2022.

“Smallholder farmers and agricultural workers overseas who produce the food we love to eat are already struggling with fewer resources and higher prices as well as volatility in commodity markets and downward pressure on prices. Now they are also having to deal with the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change, which shows no signs of slowing. There has never been a greater need for businesses to prioritise sustainability, ethics and fair pay for those in their supply chains. One way they can do this is by choosing Fairtrade,” the Foundation noted.

Brexit impact

Major brands and retailers continue to back Fairtrade despite the impacts of Brexit and ongoing cost-of-living-related challenges, making impressive commitments in 2022 to Fairtrade and the farmers and workers in their supply chains. 

Last year, Ben & Jerry's joined Tony's Open Chain in a joint mission to end modern slavery and child labour in the chocolate industry. To celebrate their commitment, the two brands got busy making delicious desserts inspired by each other, introducing Chocolatey Love A-Fair and Non-Dairy Chocolatey Love A-Fair, new Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavours based on Tony's popular milk caramel sea salt bar; and Tony's Chocolate Love A-Fair: Dark Milk Brownie and White Strawberry Cheesecake, new Tony's bars inspired by Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavours. Additionally, Tony’s bars were listed by Asda, Tesco and Morrisons in 2022.

Jackie Marshall, Head of Brand and Marketing, Fairtrade Foundation said: “Today, Fairtrade’s work – connecting farmers, businesses and consumers on the path towards sustainability – is more important than ever. Climate change, conflict and the global cost-of-living crisis are threatening marginalised communities in low-income countries, putting their livelihoods and the future of our food at risk. However, our research has shown that farmers who benefit from Fairtrade Standards, pricing and programmes are more resilient in times of global crisis. That’s why we are asking the British public and businesses to get behind Fairtrade so that together, we can continue to make the future as fair as it can be.”

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