Easter Eggs

In this guide we investigate, score and rank the ethical and environmental record of 34 Easter egg brands.

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

About Ethical Consumer

This is a product 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.

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What to buy

What to look for when buying an Easter egg:

  • Is it Fairtrade? Many agricultural products are grown by overworked and underpaid workers. Look for Fairtrade to make sure that the person growing your chocolate is receives a fair wage and working conditions.

  • Is it organic? Synthetic pesticides and herbicides threaten insect populations, contaminate water sources and can have ecosystem-wide knock-on effects. Look for organic certification to avoid ingredients grown with these chemicals, and to support farming methods that are more in tune with nature.

  • 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.

Best Buys

Our Best Buys are all Fairtrade [F] and / or organic [O]:

Additionally, Cocoa Loco, Divine, Booja Booja, Moo Free and Montezuma are palm oil free companies whilst Plamil and Traidcraft get our best rating for palm oil.

Vegan easter eggs: all the above brands make some vegan varieties (usually the dark chocolate ones). But Booja Booja and Plamil only make vegan easter eggs.

Recommended Buys

For supermarkets, The Co-op does best. All their easter eggs are Fairtrade.

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 through child labour? The cocoa industry faces serious problems, often grown by child labourers who have been trafficked to plantations. Looking for Fairtrade is the failsafe way to protect child and workers' rights. 

  • 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.

Companies to avoid

Not only do Nestle and Mondelez score poorly on our table, they also received our worst rating for their management of workers' rights in its cocoa supply chain. Plus they both get our worst rating for palm oil. We would recommend avoiding their brands:

  • Cadbury's
  • Creme Egg
  • Twirl
  • Green & Black's
  • Nestle
  • Terry's
  • Aero
  • Kit Kat
  • Smarties

Score table

Updated live from our research database

← Swipe left / right to view table contents →
Brand Score(out of 20) Ratings Categories Positive Scores

Cocoa Loco vegan easter eggs [Vg,O,F]

Company Profile: Cocoa Loco Ltd
17.5

Booja Booja chocolate [O,A]

Company Profile: Booja Booja Co Ltd
17

Cocoa Loco easter eggs [O,F]

Company Profile: Cocoa Loco Ltd
17

Moo Free easter eggs [O,A]

Company Profile: Moo Free Ltd
17

Plamil vegan, organic easter egg [O,A]

Company Profile: Plamil Foods Ltd
17

Plamil vegan and UTZ easter eggs [UTZ,A]

Company Profile: Plamil Foods Ltd
16.5

Traidcraft The Real Easter Egg - vegan [F,A]

Company Profile: Traidcraft plc
13.5

Divine Dark Chocolate Eggs [F,A]

Company Profile: Divine Chocolate Ltd
13

Traidcraft The Real Easter Egg [F]

Company Profile: Traidcraft plc
13

Divine Milk Chocolate Easter Egg [F]

Company Profile: Divine Chocolate Ltd
12.5

Montezuma's Dark chocolate organic easter egg [O] [A]

Company Profile: Montezuma's Direct Ltd
12

Montezuma's Organic Milk chocolate Easter Egg [O]

Company Profile: Montezuma's Direct Ltd
11.5

Hotel Chocolat vegan eggs [A]

Company Profile: Hotel Chocolat
9.5

Hotel Chocolat easter eggs

Company Profile: Hotel Chocolat
9

Lindt dark chocolate vegan bunnies [A]

Company Profile: Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG
8.5

Lindt Easter eggs

Company Profile: Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG
8

Lindt gold bunnies

Company Profile: Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG
8

Ferrero Rocher easter egg

Company Profile: Ferrero SpA
6.5

Kinder easter egg

Company Profile: Ferrero SpA
6.5

Thorntons Easter Egg

Company Profile: Thorntons plc
6.5

Co-op Fairtrade easter eggs [F]

Company Profile: Co-operative Group Ltd
5.5

Green & Black's easter egg [O] [F]

Company Profile: Green & Blacks Limited
4

Guylian easter eggs

Company Profile: Chocolaterie Guylian Nv
3.5

Galaxy Easter Egg

Company Profile: Mars Inc
3

Maltesers easter egg

Company Profile: Mars Inc
3

Mars Easter Egg

Company Profile: Mars Inc
3

Cadbury's Dairy Milk easter egg

Company Profile: Mondelez Europe Services GmbH (formerly Cadbury plc)
2

Creme Egg easter egg

Company Profile: Mondelez Europe Services GmbH (formerly Cadbury plc)
2

Terry's Chocolate Orange

Company Profile: Mondelez International
2

Twirl Easter Egg

Company Profile: Mondelez Europe Services GmbH (formerly Cadbury plc)
2

Tesco chocolate [RA]

Company Profile: Tesco plc
1.5

Aero easter egg

Company Profile: Nestlé SA
0.5

Kit Kat easter egg

Company Profile: Nestlé SA
0.5

Nestle easter eggs

Company Profile: Nestlé SA
0.5

Smarties Easter Egg

Company Profile: Nestlé SA
0.5

What is most important to you?

Animals
Environment
People
Politics
Product sustainability

Our Analysis

The Real Cocoa Crisis

Cocoa farmers are almost all extremely poor. 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 – producing 43% of the world’s supply. Ghana is in second place, and produces about 20%.

It is now nearly twenty years since the Western media first started talking about child labour in West African cocoa production, including forced labour. The Harkin-Engel Protocol, in which companies promised to tackle the issue, was signed in 2001. Child labour reports, sustainability projects and 2020 targets abound. 

Despite this, there is scant evidence of significant progress. There are still estimated to be about two million children working on cocoa farms in West Africa. There is particularly profound concern about it because it is such hazardous work – cocoa pods are split with machetes, toxic chemicals are used, and the children carry extremely heavy loads. Injuries are extremely common.

The media attention on child labour has led to a major rise in the proportion of cocoa that is certified by a third-party standard, from 2% a decade ago to about a quarter today. It is still growing fast as companies push towards their 2020 targets. UTZ is by far the most popular, followed by Rainforest Alliance, and then Fairtrade.There is also a small amount that is certified organic. 

We have given extra Product Sustainability points on our score tables to brands that are 100% organic, Fairtrade, UTZ, Rainforest Alliance.

We have also rated all the companies on their cocoa sourcing policy:

Best rating - Divine, Plamil, Moo Free, Booja Booja, Cocoa Loco, Montezuma, Traidcraft, Lindt

Worst rating - Nestle, Mondelez, Ferrero, Mars, Hotel Chocolat, Guylian, Tesco

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:

  • Cocoa Loco
  • Co-op own-brand 
  • Green & Black's 
  • Divine 
  • Traidcraft

Rainforest Alliance & UTZ

Some of Plamil's eggs are UTZ certified whilst all of Tesco's easter eggs are certified by the Rainforest Alliance.

See the chocolate guide for details about the differences between these certifications and why we think Fairtrade is the best.

The best Easter eggs for 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 either being palm-oil free or using sustainable palm oil:

  • Divine, Cocoa Loco, Montezuma, Moo Free and Booja Booja are all palm oil free companies.
  • Traidcraft and Plamil use sustainable palm oil

Two companies - Mondelez and Nestle - get our worst rating for palm oil for using unsustainable palm oil.

Vegan Easter eggs

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

  • Plamil,
  • Moo Free,
  • Booja Booja.

Additionally the following brands sell some vegan Easter eggs: Divine, Montezuma, Traidcraft, Hotel Chocolat, Lindt dark bunnies

Eggsessive packaging - buy a bar of chocolate instead?

Many easter eggs come packaging in plastic and cardboard. 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:

The chocolate best buy brands were the ones which stood out as being different. Divine is part-owned by Ghanaian cocoa farmers, Plamil is a vegan company, Chocolat Madagascar and Pacari are value added at source. (Chocolat Madagascar and Pacari do not make Easter eggs.)

Of the supermarkets, all of The Co-op's bars of chocolate are Fairtrade. See our product guide to chocolate

Supermarket own brands

We have only included two supermarket brands on the score table above - Co-op and Tesco - because these are the only two that have all the cocoa that they use in their own brand Easter eggs certified. Co-op chocolate is Fairtrade certified and Tesco chcolate is Rainforest Alliance.

See the supermarket guide for the ratings of the other supermarkets.

Company profile

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. 

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.  

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