Earlier this month, Kraft Foods South Africa announced that it is now the “FIRST major South African business to achieve Fairtrade certification for its much-loved chocolate brand, Cadbury Dairy Milk [plain].”

As most of you will know, Fairtrade is a system designed to protect small farmers and farm workers by ensuring “better working and living conditions … through fairer prices, better labour conditions, community development and sustainability of the environment”.  It’s a win-win situation.  Fairtrade certification benefits us all:  the people who make the products live better lives, the land used to cultivate/create it is looked after more sustainably and the ‘consumers’ who choose to support it enjoy a quality product and a clearer conscience.

I was invited to the media launch and although I did find Kraft’s message a little saccharine and self-serving at times (“multiplying joy by going Fairtrade”), I do think that what they’re doing is absolutely fantastic.

To achieve Fairtrade certification, Kraft Foods South Africa partnered with cocoa farmers in West Africa (60 percent of the world’s cocoa is grown in Ghana and the Ivory Coast). The certification will see thousands of West African farmers receive internationally-agreed Fairtrade prices for their product (the Fairtrade minimum price or world market price, whichever is higher) and the Fairtrade Premium of US$200 per tonne for investment in the development of their businesses and communities.

Which is awesome, right?   Of course, as fellow ingredient-label-readers will know, the main ingredient of a Cadbury Dairy Milk plain chocolate bar is actually sugar (first on the list), not cocoa.  So, what about the other ingredients in the chocolate bar?

I put the question to Arianna Baldo, Marketing Coordinator of Fairtrade SA, and this is what she said:

As you say, Fairtrade certification for products like coffee, or wine and tea is very straightforward: 100% of the product is Fairtrade (e.g. if you blend Fairtrade and non-Fairtrade coffee, then you cannot label the package as Fairtrade).  There are products, however, which are made of many ingredients, some of which are not certifiable. What we call ‘Food Composite Products‘ (FCP) in Fairtrade jargon are those products such as chocolate, muesli, snack bars, biscuits, etc.

For such products the rule is that (1) all that can be Fairtrade must be Fairtrade and (2) Fairtrade ingredients must make up for >50% of the product.

E.g. Plain chocolate (like Cadbury) will use Fairtrade cocoa + Fairtrade sugar. All other ingredients (e.g. milk powder, vegetable fats, etc) are not certifiable, therefore they can be conventional products. In the case Cadbury wants to have their hazelnut chocolate certified, then that chocolate will have to contain Fairtrade cocoa + Fairtrade sugar + Fairtrade hazelnuts (because hazelnuts are available in the Fairtrade market)

At the moment Kraft Foods and Fairtrade are working with local small-scale sugar cane farmers to get them Fairtrade certified so that the Fairtrade Cadbury Dairy Milk can be totally African and Fairtrade.

This is really great news. Kraft Foods is huge, and if they’re supporting Fairtrade, then others will certainly follow – and the world could most definitely do with more Fairtrade, not less.

The new Fairtrade-stamped Cadbury Dairy Milk plain bars will start appearing on shelves towards the end of the year.  And, you’ll be happy to know, they won’t cost any extra – the price will stay exactly the same.



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