Amelia’s Magazine | Dairy Milk Gets A Conscience

In case you missed it, healing visit web everyones favourite nostalgic treat – Cadbury’s Dairy Milk – is moving with the times and going Fairtrade. Last week, cost Cadbury’s announced that from the end of Summer 2009, nurse it will receive Fairtrade certification, a move which will triple the amount of Fairtrade cocoa sold in Ghana (where Cadbury sources its cacao beans). Cadbury’s believes that this will also open up new opportunities for farmers to benefit from the Fairtrade system. It is a worthy – and savvy- move for a food item which, at least in my mind, is so rooted in the past. In recent years the general public have moved away from the old-school confectionaries and embraced the more ethically produced chocolates; Green and Blacks, Fairtrade’s own Divine chocolate to name a few. While Dairy Milk always maintained a strong foothold in the market – with 300 million bars sold annually in Britain and Ireland – Cadbury’s clearly see that the current zeitgeist is ethical, ethical, ethical and wants a piece of this pie too.


Am I a dissenting voice here? Is it bad form to rise a cynical eyebrow over what appears to be a good deed? At the end of the day, whether this is a PR exercise or not becomes irrelevant because there are thousands of farmers who will be better off regardless of Cadbury’s motivations. Still, while the response has been generally warm, some issues have been raised. The publics general idea of a Fairtrade business is a co-operation or small business – which Cadbury certainly is not. And while we would be forgiven for thinking that when an food item is bestowed the coveted Fairtrade status, it must be 100% Fairtrade. Not quite. Especially when it comes to something with as many ingredients as a choccie bar.


The key components of a humble square of chocolate are cocoa beans, sugar and milk. So the cacao is covered, what about the other ingredients? Wanting to do a bit of journalistic digging, I went onto Cadbury’s blog and was reassured to see that the general public remain an inquisitive and suspicious bunch. There were enough people asking about the origins of the other ingredients to warrant a response from Cadbury’s PR in the form of a written explanation and a live web Q+A. So here’s facts. The sugar is also Fairtrade certified, but the milk is not. The milk comes from British farmers, who Cadbury’s are keen to continue a relationship with. So there is a little bit of a percentage issue arising here. Barbara Crowther from Fairtrade defended this slightly tricky situation, saying

“For ingredients like cocoa and sugar which primarily grow in developing countries, our rules say that anything that can be Fairtrade, should be – 100%. Also, if a product (like chocolate or cakes) has lots of different ingredients, there must be at least one that makes up 20% of the product. Ideally, the total combination should be 50% or more (this isn’t always possible if only one ingredient can be Fairtrade. Otherwise we agree, there’s not enough Fairtrade content there to justify the FAIRTRADE Mark.”

So there you have it; some might say that Cadbury have slipped through the net with this one. The concept of what constitutes a product being Fairtrade was always fixed in my mind; perhaps I need to adapt my pre-conceived notions a touch. Still, once it gets its certification, I look forward to picking up a Dairy Milk for old times sake.

Categories ,Chocolate, ,Dairy Milk, ,Fairtrade, ,Farmers, ,Ghana

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