Last updated: March 2017
The Good Egg Guide
Chocolate purchasing at Easter now rivals Christmas sales because of the growing popularity for Easter Eggs. Seasonal chocolate accounts for the largest share of sales with 65% of consumers buying chocolate for Easter compared with 64% at Christmas.
The Real Cocoa Crisis
Over half of the world’s cocoa is produced in the Ivory Coast and Ghana. The industry has been plagued by reports that hundreds of thousands of children, as young as 10, work on the cocoa farms. The industry has committed to a 70% decrease in the amount of cocoa being produced with the worst forms of child labour in these countries by 2020.
Anti-slavery campaigning group STOP THE TRAFFIK has been campaigning for the end to child labour in cocoa supply chains since 2006. The table below, which is based on STOP THE TRAFFIK’s methodology, highlights the current situation across the industry.
It shows that while some of the larger brands have begun to use ethically certified schemes in some products, they still have a long way to go before they introduce 100% certification across all their brands.
Instead, it is encouraging to see ethical companies sitting at the top of the scoretable, showing a genuine commitment to producing responsibly-sourced chocolate.
Ethical Consumer recommends buying Fairtrade eggs where possible, ensuring that the farmers receive more money for their cocoa. Fairtrade chocolate also has to guarantee that no trafficked labour has been used in the harvesting of the cocoa beans.
Fairtrade certified easter eggs are marked on the scoretable by an [F]. The following brands are Fairtrade:
- Cocoa Loco
- Co-op own-brand
- Green & Blacks
Fair tax eggs - avoid Cadbury
In October 2016 it was reported by ITV that Cadbury's had failed to pay UK corporation rax on £1.7bn sales. It has failed to pay any tax since it was taken over by US food giant Mondelez in 2010.
So for fair tax eggs avoid Cadbury eggs and its myriad of brands like Dairy Milk, Crunchie and Flake. They all have Cadbury written prominently on them.
The Co-op is the only easter egg company that has signed up to the Fair Tax Mark which guarantees that they pay a fair amount of tax.
Fair palm oil eggs
Divine, Cocoa Loco, Montezuma and Booja Booja are palm oil free companies.
Avoid eggsessive packaging and buy a bar of Fairtrade chocolate instead
This easter, you could by-pass the traditional easter egg and buy a bar of Fairtrade chocolate instead. "Even though many brands have reduced the amount of packaging on their eggs, we still think it's an excessive amount of cardboard and plastic" says Jane Turner from Ethical Consumer. "Many mini eggs, for example, are individually wrapped in tin foil. You'll still get much more chocolate for your money - and much less packaging too - by buying a large bar of chocolate instead".
When Ethical Consumer last looked at chocolate bars, the Best Buys are the following Fairtrade and/or organic certified products:
Biona, Cocoa Loco, Divine, Madécasse, Montezuma, Moo Free, Pacari, Plamil, Raw Chocolate Pie, Seed and Bean, Traidcraft, Raw Chocolate, Moods, Vegan Organica, Vego, Vivani.
Of the supermarkets, all of The Co-op's bars of chocolate are Fairtrade.
See our product guide to chocolate bars.
Nestlé, which owns nearly 30% of L’Oréal, conducts animal testing. In 2015 Nestlé was accused of cruel animal experimentation by Cruelty Free International. The experiments, conducted on dogs, mice, hamsters, rats and pigs, attempted to investigate the positive health benefits of the companies’ products and to identify potential benefits that could be marketed.
It is the subject of the world's longest running boycott which began in 1977 for its marketing of baby milk in developing countries which undermines breastfeeding.
See detailed company information, ethical ratings and issues for all companies mentioned in this guide, by clicking on a brand name in the Score table.
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Mintel, Attitudes to Sesonal Celebrations Foods, September 2015