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World Chocolate Day: Why We Love Tony's Chocolonely

By Emily Rivers - 12th October 2021

7th July is World Chocolate Day: a day to celebrate all of the delicious treats that we can make and eat using chocolate. Some say the date refers to 7th July 1550 when Europeans discovered chocolate, but whatever the reason we’re happy to get on board!

We’ve recently partnered with Tony’s Chocolonely because we love what they stand for. Not all chocolate is equal - and it’s got nothing to do with flavour. We’re stocking Tony’s because their chocolate is 100% slave free.

Why are the pieces of chocolate in a Tony’s bar unequal?

Orange Tony's Chocolonely bar in paper wrapping on a textured table
Tony's Chocolonely unwrapped showing uneven pieces of chocolate

If you’ve ever unwrapped one of the colourful Tony’s Chocolonely bars, you will have seen that each piece is unequal. While this is great for some sharers, others might lose out. So why are they this way? It’s not just a design choice.

The average cocoa farmer in the Ivory Coast earns 78 euro cents a day. No one can live off such a low wage, let alone support a family too. However, it gets worse - at least 30,000 people in West Africa are victims of modern slavery, and it’s not just adults. Children are being forced to grow cocoa and don’t get paid for it.

In mid 2017, the price of cocoa dropped by 40% due to record harvests. In the Ivory Coast, the money that farmers get for their cocoa dropped by nearly 40% too, causing extreme poverty for lots of families across the country. Chocolate companies saved $4.7 billion on buying cocoa beans, but none of them cut their retail prices. That leaves a bitter taste.

Tony’s say that as long as the chocolate industry is unequally divided, their bars will stay that way too.

What are Tony’s doing to make all chocolate 100% slave free?

We love Tony’s because they’ve not stopped at making their chocolate slave free. They want to make 100% slave free chocolate the norm. They’ve created a roadmap with three pillars to help them move towards their goal.

Tony’s creates awareness

Since 2005, Tony’s have been empowering cocoa farmers and people in communities with a level of knowledge about what is and isn’t allowed. For example, it’s fine for children to learn about how cocoa is grown and help out on the farm after school, but they shouldn’t be doing any heavy lifting.

Tony’s wants to make everyone aware of the inequalities in the chocolate industry so retailers and consumers demand slave-free chocolate. Chocolate companies will have to listen to their customers and provide them with slave-free chocolate.

Tony’s leads by example

Starting in 2012, Tony’s have been showing the world that chocolate can be made without the use of modern slavery or exploitation. They aim for everyone in the supply chain to be happy with the chocolate, beginning with the farmer and their children.

Tony’s invests in agricultural knowledge and training with their farmer cooperatives to help them improve productivity so they can earn a better income. They pay them a higher price too. Plus, they make all their chocolate with traceable cocoa, so they know where it’s come from and can ensure that it’s been ethically grown and harvested.

Tony’s inspires to act

The final pillar of the Tony’s roadmap is to inspire other key people in the industry to take action. They’re actively seeking out partners that are interested in applying their model and show them the impact they’re making, as well as what they’ve learned.

Tony’s constantly challenge themselves to find ways to have even more impact, which we admire - instead of keeping profits to themselves by keeping the product unique to them, they want to show everyone that 100% slave-free chocolate can become the new normal.

Why Tony? And what does Chocolonely mean?

Tony’s was founded by Teun van de Keuken, a Dutch journalist who launched a crusade against child slavery in the chocolate industry on a consumer watchdog show in the Netherlands. Tony is the English equivalent of Teun, so that’s where the name comes from.

Teun was so shocked to discover how prevalent slavery was in the cocoa industry that he tried to discuss the problem with the large chocolate companies, but none of them would listen. So he decided to lead by example and make 5,000 Fairtrade chocolate bars, and since the chocolate industry was a pretty lonely place for those trying to make it slave free, he named them ‘Chocolonely.’

A model holding 5 colourful bars of Tony's Chocolonely

Why we’re excited to stock Tony’s Chocolonely

Tony’s are so committed to making all chocolate besides their own 100% slave free, and we’re proud to support a brand that has such strong values. Not only is their chocolate the most ethical chocolate around, but it also tastes delicious! The content team’s favourite flavour is Caramel and Sea Salt, and it’s never around long if someone brings it in.

Plus, Tony’s Chocolonely bars are wrapped in fully-recyclable packaging. They only use paper and aluminium foil. And since it’s Plastic Free July, it’s just another reason to shout about what a great brand Tony’s is.