10 October, 2016

10 facts about Fairtrade chocolate to remember this Chocolate Week

by Anna Galandzij for the Fairtrade Foundation

Chocolate. Milk or dark with Cornish sea salt? Behind every luscious chocolate bar and treat we devour throughout the year, there are six million people globally who depend on growing cocoa for their livelihoods. Fairtrade has breathed a new lease of life into entire cocoa farming communities in the poorest parts of the world.

1. In 1994, Green & Black's Maya Gold chocolate bar became the first Fairtrade-certified product in the UK. Based on a traditional cocoa-spiced Mayan drink, it set the trend for single-origin chocolate whilst achieving a great write-up from foodies, including the celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

2. Most cocoa farmers have never tasted chocolate in their life, but farmers from the Fairtrade-certified Kuapa Kokoo cooperative in Ghana own 44% of the Divine chocolate company. Launched in 1998, it went down in history as the first farmer-owned confectionary brand in the UK.

cocoa growers

Kuapa Kokoo's cocoa growers. Copyrights Kim Naylor

3. Currently around 179,800 smallholder cocoa farmers are members of Fairtrade certified producer organisations. Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire are the top selling countries.

cocoa map

4. Most cocoa farmers in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire live on less than a $1 a day. Poverty, and its many related issues, such as child labour, is the key challenge faced by cocoa growing communities. With Fairtrade sales, farmer cooperatives receive the Fairtrade Premium which they spend on improving quality and productivity of their farms, to increase incomes. Meet cocoa farmers in Côte d'Ivoire to find out more.

5. In 2013-14, cocoa farmers earned more than €10.8m in Fairtrade Premium, 43% of which was used for services to farmers, including agricultural tools, training (eg. in sustainable tree management) and for direct cash payments.

6. Currently there are around 1,460 chocolate products bearing the FAIRTRADE Mark in the UK, including premium, conventional, organic, gluten free and vegan.

7. Fairtrade chocolate accounts for 12% of total sales in the UK - and the trend for Fairtrade-certified cocoa treats is growing (see the Global Cocoa Market 2016-2020).

8. 14% of Fairtrade total cocoa sales are organic, with the UK being the largest market.


9. 25% of all Fairtrade cocoa growers are women. Watch a film made by women cocoa farmers in Côte D’Ivoire which shows the challenges they face, and how they are increasingly taking charge of their own futures.

10. Education is key to the future of cocoa communities. Fairtrade Africa currently trains cocoa farmers in financial management, governance, good agricultural practices, gender and child labour. This will form part of the Fairtrade West Africa Cocoa Program, being implemented over period from 2015 to 2020. Watch this space!



  • Mr Mike Lambern said:
    10/11/2016 16:14

    A very good article, Would it be possible for me as church magazine editor to apply for permission to use this article in our church magazine.Keynsham Methodist Church Keynsham Bristol.

  • Sharon Moore said:
    10/11/2016 17:01

    Fairtrade is a wonderful organisation, so please keep up all your hard work.

  • Fleur Bradnock said:
    10/11/2016 18:01

    Have come a long way and 2015-2020 programme good. Looking forward to hearing more. What a great film by the women.

  • Cherry Lavell said:
    10/11/2016 18:26

    Glad to see this -- have bought FT almost since inception and hope it continues to thrive and be even better/fairer.

  • Deirdre said:
    10/11/2016 19:52

    I love buying fair trade chocolate for the chocolate lovers in my family.

  • Lesley Parry said:
    10/11/2016 20:10

    Excellent chocolate. I always leave a donation when I buy fairtrade products

  • Rodrigo said:
    10/11/2016 21:14

    Follow Fair trade is a dutie as a human

  • Marlene esprey said:
    10/11/2016 21:41

    Love fair trade chocolate

  • Beryl Snook said:
    10/11/2016 22:13

    How these poor brave women have to jump through so many hurdles to even try to compete with men on an even playing field. They work just as hard, probably harder than men, when you take into consideration they have to keep house, cook and care for the children. Being women, they will succeed, and be even more successful than the men. Good luck to all these wonderful African women Andy may their futures be ever more fruitful.

  • Nunda Casavooloo said:
    11/11/2016 05:31

    Education is the key to success, I am not saying to be a degree holder but at least the farmers can read, understand how to manage their finance and eradicate child labour X U8 29

  • Simone Stewart said:
    12/11/2016 18:50

    Love chocolate, love Fair Trade chocolate even more. I always try to buy fair trade chocolate and cocoa powder. Happy to here this country is the largest consumers of FTC. The people growing coca deserve a fair deal for sullying us with such an incredible product.

  • James Foulds said:
    24/11/2016 16:36

    Interesting;informative; pleasing to see the support that these indomitable growers have developed and for me as a dedicated feminist (aged 90 ) very pleased to see so much of the workforce is female. And also delighted to be able to support enterprise in defiance of the all-consuming greed of Supermarkets

  • Lucy Pink said:
    31/03/2017 09:26

    OMG I love chocolate please buy fair trade

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