Chocolate on the UP?



We are delighted to see how challenger brands are continuing to re-think the supply chain of chocolate – inspiring consumers to think differently and be more informed on their chocolate choices.


The soon-to launch brand Up Up Chocolate, the world’s first slave free cocoa chocolate. They source their chocolate from one cocoa farm plantation in Colombia – the first in the world to be certified by Slave Free Trade International.


What makes Up Up Chocolate different is their cocoa supply chain. It’s very short. There’s a plantation, the processing site and their factory. Three workplaces and that’s it. It’s very unusual in the cocoa industry. Normally, there are layers and layers of people and interests. So, there’s a high chance that transparency is compromised through the number of elements involved. By shortening the supply chain they can guarantee complete traceability and ensure their product is slave free.


Even the likes of Tony’s Chocolonely are not yet slave free – and recently had to remove any suggestion that it was 100% slave free. It openly admits that 3.9% of its supply chain still uses child labour compared with an industry average of 46.5%.  They believe the way to eradicate child labour is by partnering with a chocolate industry stalwart – Barry Callebaut.


Tony’s mission is to make all chocolate 100% slave-free, not just their own. So they choose to collaborate with a big chocolate producer and tackle change from within the industry. By working with Barry Callebaut to produce bean-to-bar offerings they aim to pave the way for others by proving the scalability of their solutions. They have made their sourcing principles – Open Chain, open to all and encouraged allies to follow their lead.


Consumers can help drive impact too by identifying and buying the good chocolate players rather than blaming the bad ones. But often the biggest barrier, beyond price is a lack of understanding of the issues. Given the multi-faceted nature of sustainability, and the variety of definitions across markets, it’s not always easy to detect whether a product is sustainable. Add in a lack of trust and concerns about greenwashing into the mix, and sustainable shopping becomes complicated and time consuming. Half of UK consumers in our recent study with Bulbshare on sustainable shopping habits expressed difficulty around assessing the sustainability of an item of food or drink.


Tony’s Chocolonely has recognised the need to educate consumers on the sustainability issues in chocolate and have used their marketing to educate and inspire consumers about the realities of the chocolate supply chain, through campaigns like Conversation Bars and Sweet Solution.


Let’s hope many more brands can be inspired by the likes of Tony’s Chocolonely and Up Up Chocolate.


It’s time for change.



Check out our previous Chocolate blogs:


Child Slaves, the true cost of chocolate


Education paid for with chocolate