US – Multinational grocery retailer Lidl has partnered with Fairtrade to introduce a new private label chocolate bar in US stores that contributes to a living income for cocoa farmers later this month.
Available in milk and dark chocolate variants, Lidl US’s new Way To Go! bar uses 100% traceable and sustainable Fairtrade cocoa sourced from a cooperative in Ghana.
According to Fairtrade America, the grocer’s new offering guarantees that farmers receive at least the Fairtrade Minimum Price for cocoa and the Fairtrade Premium.
In addition, Lidl’s partnership with Fairtrade will see the retailer pay a second premium for every metric ton of cocoa purchased for the Way To Go! range.
This premium can be used by farmers to diversify into new categories and develop new farming techniques.
Stefan Schwarz, executive vice president of purchasing at Lidl US, added: “Lidl is committed to investing in products and business models that deliver greater returns to people working in the supply chain, and this is especially important in the cocoa industry.
“By designing and launching the first private label chocolate bar with the objective of directly supporting workers, small-scale farmers and local communities, we are taking another important step in this direction.”
The Lidl US initiative comes at a time when a battle between Hershey and West African cocoa producing countries has escalated with Ghana and Ivory Coast cancelling all cocoa sustainability schemes that the U.S.-based chocolate maker runs in their countries.
Food Business Africa had earlier reported that the cancellation followed the alleged refusal of the chocolate company to pay the premium amount tagged on cocoa sourced from the two countries, aimed at combating farmers poverty.
In a letter addressed to Hershey, the cocoa regulators for Ivory Coast and Ghana accuse the chocolate manufacturing giant of sourcing unusually large volumes of physical cocoa on the ICE futures exchange in order to avoid the payment of the LID fee.
“If more retailers followed in Lidl’s footsteps by Fairtrade certifying their private label chocolate as well as by taking the extra step towards paying cocoa producers a living income, it would help eradicate systemic poverty in the cocoa industry, which contributes to child labour practices, deforestation and more,” said Peg Willingham, executive director, Fairtrade America.
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