Skip to main content

Easter Eggs

In this guide we investigate, score and rank the ethical and environmental record of 39 Easter egg brands.

We also look at cocoa sourcing, cocoa farmers, animal rights, packaging, palm oil and shine a spotlight on the ethics of Nestlé and give our recommended buys.

About Ethical Consumer

This is a shopping guide from Ethical Consumer, the UK's leading alternative consumer organisation. Since 1989 we've been researching and recording the social and environmental records of companies, and making the results available to you in a simple format.

Learn more about us  →

What to buy

What to look for when buying an Easter egg:

  • Is the chocolate value-added-at-source (marked [S] on our table)? This means chocolate which was manufactured in the same country where the cocoa beans were grown. It directly challenges Europe’s stronghold on chocolate industry profits.

  • Is its cocoa Fairtrade International or Rainforest Alliance certified? These certifications make it more likely farmers will receive above poverty wages.

  • Is it vegan? Much dairy is produced through intensive farming, which keeps animals in cramped conditions, and has high levels of emissions. Look for dairy-free to help protect the environmental and animal rights.

Subscribe to see which companies we recommend as Best Buys and why 

What not to buy

What to avoid when buying an Easter egg:

  • Is it overly packaged? Lots of Easter eggs comes encased in several layers of foil, cardboard and plastic - each of which come with an environmental and often human cost of their own. Buying a chocolate bar instead might be a good way to cut down on packaging.

  • Is it grown using pesticides? For agricultural workers and local people, the health impacts of extensive agrochemical use are numerous, not to mention the environmental issues. Opt for organic cocoa.

Subscribe to see which companies to avoid and why

Score table

Updated live from our research database

← Swipe left / right to view table contents →
Brand Score(out of 100) Ratings Categories

Our Analysis

Easter eggs, whether for children or adults, can be full of hidden surprises, as well as any treats inside them. And some of the surprises may not be so good. This includes child labour, poor workers' rights and palm oil. 

In this guide we highlight some of the major issues associated with chocolate and thus Easter eggs to help you find the ethical alternatives to suit your budget and tastes.

The cocoa crisis

Cocoa can only be grown in tropical countries, and it is almost entirely grown by smallholders. The bulk of production is in West Africa, with Ivory Coast – the biggest exporter - with Ghana is in second place.

But cocoa farmers receive barely any of the chocolate industry’s $100 billion revenue: estimates range between 6% and 11%. Up to 9 out of 10 Ghanaian and Ivory Coast cocoa farmers don’t earn a living income.

Moreover, cocoa farmers’ income is so low that it’s commonplace for them to rely on child labour. 4 in 10 cocoa-growing households in Ivory Coast are estimated to use child labour, and 6 in 10 in Ghana.

After cocoa beans are harvested (64% of the world’s beans are grown in Africa, 15% in South America and 13% in Asia), the majority are exported to international companies for the most profitable production stages: processing, packaging and retail. This means the profits are not felt in the country where the cocoa is grown.

What can consumers do about cocoa sourcing?

Buying Easter eggs from companies that are addressing child labour and wages for cocoa farmers is the most important things consumers can do.

That means only buying from companies that have good cocoa sourcing policies.

How do Easter egg brands score for their cocoa sourcing rating?

We considered a brand’s cocoa sourcing policy to be ‘adequate’ if 100% of their cocoa was:

  • Certified by Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade International
  • Better than Fairtrade, including payment of at least the Fairtrade premium
  • Value-added-at-source

The following were adequate and did not lose marks for this rating: Cocoa Loco, Conscious, Divine, MonChoco, Moo Free, Ombar, Pacari, Raw Chocolate Company, Tony's Chocolonely, The Real Easter Egg.

Brands that didn’t meet these criteria were considered to have an ‘inadequate’ cocoa sourcing policy and lost half a mark in the Workers’ Rights category. The majority of brands’ cocoa sourcing ratings were inadequate, including all the big well-known brands like Cadbury's and Nestle.

If you are wondering why Booja Booja scores highly in the table but is not one of our recommended brands, it's because its cocoa sourcing policy was rated as inadequate.

Value-added-at-source Easter eggs

Value-added-at-source (VAS) chocolate is chocolate that was manufactured in the same country that the cocoa beans were grown in, meaning more profits stay inside the cocoa-growing country.

Benefits of buying VAS chocolate
  • Your money adds to the wealth of cocoa-growing countries.
  • You’re directly helping micro companies and local job creation.
  • You’re helping budding chocolatiers in cocoa-growing countries survive in this European-dominated industry.
  • A shorter supply chain, making it easier to trace ingredients back to source and ensure workers’ rights are upheld.

You’re unlikely to see these brands at local stores (except for some local ethical stores): you’ll have to buy online and they’ll ship to you. Many are micro companies on different continents so customer service levels may vary, and we can’t vouch for the reliability of service you’ll get.

MonChoco is a vegan Ivory Coast chocolatier specialising in raw organic cocoa. Shipping chocolate worldwide is carbon-intensive, but its production emissions couldn’t be much lower: it literally crushes the cocoa beans ‘by bike’. 

Pacari chocolate is made in Ecuador, allowing “50% of the wealth to stay in the country of origin and contribute to its development”. Its premium exceeds Fairtrade prices. It works with a UK distributor, so this is a great brand to encourage your local ethical store to get in stock (if it isn’t already).

Bowl with small chocolate Easter eggs in

Fairtrade eggs

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]. All the Easter eggs of the following brands are Fairtrade:

Rainforest Alliance eggs

All of Plamil's eggs are Rainforest Alliance certified whilst all of Nestle's Easter eggs are certified by the Rainforest Alliance.

Read more about why fair trade certification is important and the different schemes/labels in our special feature on fair trade labels and food.

Corporate sustainability schemes

Most big chocolate companies have their own sustainability schemes, for example Mondelēz (Cadbury)’s ‘Cocoa Life’, Nestlé’s ‘Cocoa Plan’, Hotel Chocolat’s ‘Gentle Farming’, and Mars’ ‘Cocoa for Generations’.

But these schemes tend to cover just a proportion of the company’s cocoa suppliers, as opposed to 100%.

See the Chocolate guide for details about the differences between all these certifications and why we think Value-Added-At-Source and Fairtrade is the best.

The best Easter eggs which avoid palm oil

Chocolate itself does not generally contain palm oil. However, fillings such as biscuit commonly do, so we rated all of the companies on their palm oil policies. 

The following brands get our best rating for palm oil for being palm-oil free companies:

The following received our worst rating for palm oil: Cadbury, Ferrero Rocher, Galaxy, Green & Black's, H!P, Kinder, Love Cocoa, Maltesers, Mars, Nestlé, and Toblerone.

See our feature on palm oil free chocolate for all the company ratings on this.

Vegan Easter eggs

Whilst many dark chocolate Easter eggs will be vegan, the following brands are made by vegan companies:

  • Booja Booja
  • Conscious
  • Monchoco
  • Moo Free
  • Ombar
  • Pacari
  • Plamil
  • Raw Chocolate Company

Additionally the following brands sell some vegan Easter eggs: Divine, Cocoa Loco, Montezuma, H!P, LoveCocoa, Hotel Chocolat, Lindt dark bunnies.

Eggsessive packaging: buy a bar of chocolate instead?

Most companies have got rid of the moulded plastic trays to hold the large Easter egg, but the egg itself or the mini eggs or chocolates inside it are likely to be wrapped in aluminium foil. Contents of the eggs may also be packaged in plastic pouches.

Some companies are doing more than others: Tony's Chocolonely and Plamil both use paper pouches for their egg contents, for example. 

The following companies make explicit public statements about being plastic free:

H!P, LoveCocoa, Conscious, Raw Chocolate Company, Divine, Ombar, Montezuma, Moo Free, The Real Easter Egg and Cocoa Loco.

Whatever you choose, look out for eggs with the minimum of packaging.

Or, maybe this Easter, you could by-pass the traditional Easter egg and buy a bar of Fairtrade chocolate instead. If you factor in the price per amount of chocolate, this can be a win-win situation.

"Even though many brands have reduced the amount of packaging on their eggs, we still think it's an excessive amount of cardboard, foil and plastic" says Jane Turner from Ethical Consumer. "Many mini eggs, for example, are individually wrapped in tin foil. You'll get much more chocolate for your money - and much less packaging too - by buying a large bar of chocolate instead".

Alternatively, you could of course decide that buying chocolate eggs or even bars of chocolate at Easter is an unnecessary consumerist act. 

How much do ethical Easter eggs cost?

You'll have to pay more for an ethical Easter egg but you'll be paying the real cost and a fair price to the cocoa farmer.. 

Brand pence per g
Cadbury Dairy Milk 2p
The Real Easter Egg 3p


Pacari chocolate chips



Tony's Chocolonely




Cocoa Loco

Conscious 8p
Raw Chocolate Company  10p

There were no weights for the Monchoco products so we could not compare them.

Make your own Easter eggs

You can also cut down on packaging by making your own Easter eggs from bars of ethical chocolate or chocolate chips. See our Chocolate guide for more brands.

Pacari sells chocolate chips and provides instructions.

Or check out the BBC's guide to home made Easter eggs.

Both instructions do however say that you will need egg moulds which appear to be plastic!

Company profile

Nestlé, which owns nearly 20% of L’Oréal, conducts animal testing. 

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. 

Want more?

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.  

This information is reserved for subscribers only. Don't miss out, become a subscriber today.