Cadbury builds Fairtrade awareness, bar-by-bar

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Fairtrade Fair trade Flo international

Cadbury’s commitment to source cocoa for its popular Dairy Milk chocolate bars is a strong signal that responsible sourcing is moving out of a niche and into the mainstream, and will introduce more consumers to the principal.

The UK confectionery giant has today pledged to achieve Fairtrade certification for its top-selling product by the end of this summer. The move will increase sales for those farmers who already have Fairtrade certification, and enable many more farmers to sell their produce under the system.

Since Cadbury sells 300 million chocolate bars per year, the appearance of the Fairtrade mark on packaging “will introduce a lot of new people to Fairtrade,”​ a spokesperson for certifier Fairtrade Foundation told

“This shows Fairtrade is becoming more mainstream,”​ she said. In the beginning, campaigners were knocking on retailers’ doors asking them to sell Fairtrade products. Now big companies have realised the business sense in making Fairtrade products available, and are doing so.

The latest news from Cadbury follows an announcement last year from sugar giant Tate & Lyle to source Fairtrade sugar, and Marks & Spencers’ pledge to source only Fairtrade bananas.

Organisation strategy

That there are around 700,000 cocoa farmers in Ghana, but the majority of these do not have the cooperative structures in place to achieve fair-trade certification.

Cadbury established the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership last year through which it began working in Ghanaian villages that rely on cocoa farming for their livelihoods. It has now started working with certifiers so that more farmers can be registered with Flo-Cert, the Fairtrade Foundation’s international certification partner.

Registration mainly requires the growers organising through a cooperative or other organisation, to ensure transparency and traceability, and also to ensure how to use the Fairtrade premium.

Cocoa farmers receive a premium of US$140 per tonne of Fairtrade cocoa, which must be spent on development projects. In addition, farmers guarantee a minimum price for Fairtrade cocoa, of no less than $1600 per tonne.

At present the cocoa price is “quite healthy”,​ at $2100 a tonne – a rate that Cadbury will pay while it remains at that level. But even if it dips drastically below $1600, the confectionery will not pay less than the threshold.

Groups supplying Fairtrade cocoa are also bound to meet other conditions, on environmental impact, accountability, and child labour, for example.

Kuapa Kokoo

Cadbury will also be sourcing cocoa from Kuapa Kokoo, a group that already has Fairtrade certification in place and which has 45,000 Ghanaian farmers registered. Although Kuapa Kokoo sells only three per cent of its cocoa as Fairtrade at present, it has a slate of other projects in place, such as building schools and constructing wells.

The arrangement with Cadbury will enable it to increase its Fairtrade premiums, and implement more farmer support and community development programmes, according to the Fairtrade Foundation.

The news from Cadbury has also been welcomed by Divine Chocolate Ltd, which is co-owned by Kuapa Kokoo. Since it started supplying chocolate in the UK ten years ago, Divine has become a £12.4m business.

Cadbury first established cocoa farms in Ghana 100 years ago.

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