Dutch chocolate brand Tony’s Chocolonely whose mission is to “make all chocolate 100% slave free” has substantially increased its payments to cocoa suppliers, and is calling on other chocolate manufacturers to do the same.

The brand is known for its “unequally divided” chocolate bars, designed to underline the inequality in the cocoa and chocolate industries. It claims cocoa farmers in West Africa have been hard hit by increasing inflation which has forced them “further into poverty”.

“Inequality in the cocoa supply chain and the resulting extreme poverty are the root causes of modern slavery, child labour and deforestation.” Tony’s Chocolonely added.

Tony’s Chocolonely’s name is a nod to its founder, Dutch journalist Teun van der Keuken. Tony is the anglicised version of his first name.

Chocolonely is a nickname he took on as a “lonely fighter against the inequality in the cocoa industry”.

“We always pay a higher price on cocoa to enable farmers to earn a living income,” said Tony’s Chocolonely Duty Free Travel Retail Manager Ivan van Kooten. “The bitter truth is that many cocoa farmers are already living well below the poverty line. But now they’re being squeezed even further, making sending their kids to school, feeding their families, and accessing healthcare even more of a daily struggle.

“So, it’s more important than ever to pay a higher price for cocoa.”

“The travel retail industry is a great platform and shop window for us to invite chocolate fans from all over the world to join us in our mission” – Tony’s Chocolonely Duty Free Travel Retail Manager Ivan van Kooten

Tony’s Chocolonely’s roadmap for 100% slave free chocolate includes buying its cocoa beans direct from farmers’ cooperatives in West Africa and guaranteeing to work with them for at least five years. The path of the cocoa bean can be traced across the production chain, from the farm to the environmentally friendly packaging.

The brand’s website points out that “things aren’t shared fairly in the chocolate supply chain”. “The chain starts with the millions of farmers that produce cocoa and ends with the billions of consumers that enjoy chocolate.”

It goes on to question the “bit in between”, a section allegedly “dominated by a group of chocolate giants that profit from keeping the cocoa purchasing price as low as possible”.

Tony’s Chocolonely pays the Living Income Reference Price (LIRP) for all the cocoa it buys, a price aligned with Fairtrade and enabling farmers to earn a living income. Fairtrade and Tony’s Chocolonely use the same model for calculating payments to cocoa farmers. Both have improved existing models, integrated widely accepted benchmarks and research, and shared their insights with the chocolate industry on the living income reference price for cocoa.

“We call upon all chocolate companies to make a living income the norm and start using this model,” van Kooten said.

As reported, Tony’s Chocolonely opened its first stand-alone travel retail store in partnership with Schiphol Airport Retail, the joint venture between Gebr Heinemann and Royal Schiphol Group, last year.

The brand underlines its strong presence at the Amsterdam hub as it looks to expanding its network in other airports in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

“We want to show that it is possible to take more responsibility towards the beginning of the value chain on the one hand and building a successful commercial business with a loved brand on the other,” van Kooten added.

“The travel retail industry is one of the markets where we want to prove this and become a significant player. It is a great platform and shop window for us to invite chocolate fans from all over the world to join us in our mission.”

Tony’s Chocolonely shares its story and mission on its chocolate bar packaging. Click on the image to see full details

The Tony’s Chocolonely product line-up includes chocolate bars and gift packs, along with t-shirts and tote bags. Travel retail exclusive items include a 320g Tiny Tony’s Pouch Pack and 240g chocolate bars in milk, dark, almond sea salt, milk caramel sea salt, hazelnut and nougat flavours.

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