Easter Eggs

In this guide we investigate, score and rank the ethical and environmental record of 24 Easter egg brands.

We also look at cocoa, 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.

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? Made from petroleum, chemical pesticides threaten bee populations, contaminate water sources, and cause large-scale destruction of habitats. Look for organic to avoid bananas grown with these chemicals. 

  • 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 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 does Mondelez score poorly on our table, it received our worst rating for its management of workers' rights in its cocoa supply chain. We would recommend avoiding its brands:

  • Cadbury's
  • Creme Egg
  • Twirl
  • Green & Black's

Score table

Updated live from our research database

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

Plamil vegan, organic Fairtrade easter egg [F,O,A]

Company Profile: Plamil Foods 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

Divine Dark Chocolate Eggs [F,A]

Company Profile: Divine Chocolate Ltd
13

Divine Milk Chocolate Easter Egg [F]

Company Profile: Divine Chocolate Ltd
12.5

Traidcraft The Real Easter Egg [F]

Company Profile: Traidcraft plc
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

Lindt Easter eggs

Company Profile: Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG
8.5

Lindt gold bunnies

Company Profile: Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG
8.5

Thorntons Milk Chocolate Easter Egg

Company Profile: Thorntons plc
6.5

Co-op Fairtrade easter eggs [F]

Company Profile: Co-operative Group Ltd
6

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

Company Profile: Green & Blacks Limited
4

Galaxy Easter Egg

Company Profile: Mars Inc
3

Maltesers easter egg

Company Profile: Mars Inc
3

Mars Easter Egg

Company Profile: Mars Inc
3

Aero easter egg

Company Profile: Nestlé SA
2

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

Kit Kat easter egg

Company Profile: Nestlé SA
2

Nestle easter eggs

Company Profile: Nestlé SA
2

Smarties Easter Egg

Company Profile: Nestlé SA
2

Twirl Easter Egg

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

What is most important to you?

Animals
Environment
People
Politics
Product sustainability

Our Analysis

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.[1] 

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. 

Image: chocolate Easter egg table ethical guide

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]. The following brands are Fairtrade: 

  • Plamil
  • Cocoa Loco
  • Co-op own-brand 
  • Green & Blacks 
  • Divine 
  • Traidcraft

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.

Image: Fair Tax Mark Co-op supermarket

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

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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References:

  1. Mintel, Attitudes to Sesonal Celebrations Foods, September 2015