Did you know that at least 20% of the Easter eggs on sale in New Zealand this Easter will be made with cocoa produced by kids? Children who commonly work 12 hour days in very harsh conditions. Who would want to support that?
Fortunately, you don’t have to! There are heaps of Easter eggs and other chocolate treats that are made without child labour! We’ve put together a list: it’s got Easter bunnies, large hollow eggs, mid-sized eggs, mini eggs and various novelties, like movie-themed mugs with Easter eggs inside. All of them are made with cocoa where someone’s checked the farm to make sure no kids are working there.
There are plenty of cheap and cheerful options for the kids but also products from two companies that have recently placed in the New Zealand chocolate awards. Unfortunately we still don’t know of any child labour free options for classic chocolate marshmallow eggs and the list is a bit light on filled eggs. To help fill those gaps, we finish with links to a few recipes.
We’ve got a long list, but there’s quite likely child-labour-free Easter chocolate available that we’ve missed. If you’re interested in Easter chocolate that’s not on our list, how can you know whether it’s child labour free? Easy! Look for one of the following marks on the packaging: if any of those are there you can be confident someone’s checked to make sure no kids were working on the cocoa plantation.
NB on imported products there’s often been a sticker put on the back of the product giving the nutritional information etc. that is legally required in New Zealand. These stickers really often obscure the marks you’re looking for (here’s an example of that): if you see such a sticker, look closely to see if any relevant marks are hidden underneath.
UTZ/Rainforest Alliance. These are by far the marks you’re most likely to see on child-labour-free Easter treats this year. They used to be two separate organisations (hence the two very different logos) but they’re in the process of merging and will eventually use the smoother version of the two green frog logos. All of these marks currently guarantee the same standards as each other, and you can be confident that the cocoa in anything displaying any of the above logos was produced without child or slave labour and that the farmers were paid a small premium above the regular market price.
Note that many Nestle products don’t display either the UTZ or RA logo and, instead, have a statement like that at the right, saying they ‘work with’ UTZ or Rainforest Alliance. We have checked and that means they are certified by that organisation.
If Nestle rings ethical alarm bells for you, read here about why we’re generally OK to buy from them these days.
Fairtrade. Both of the logos above guarantee that the cocoa was grown without the use of forced labour or child labour, that the working conditions were safe and that a premium price was paid to the farmers. For the paler version of the logo, that’s all it means; for the darker version other ingredients such as sugar and vanilla were also grown in those conditions.
So, on to the list! For each item we start with products that are widely available (e.g. at supermarkets or The Warehouse) then move to more niche products only available at speciality retailers or online.
Kit kat Easter bunnies - Rainforest Alliance-certified, 29g and selling for around $1 at a wide range of outlets. These are more chocolatey/less biscuity than regular kitkats.
You can also buy bags of mini Kit kat bunnies, Rainforest Alliance certified and around $4 for a 66g bag.
The Warehouse is stocking Wawi bunnies, $8 for a 150g hollow bunny, UTZ-certified.
Countdown and Fresh Choice stocking a hollow chocolate bunny filled with smarties; Rainforest Alliance certified, 94g for around $5-$6
Also from Countdown there’s the trio of Hamlet bunnies, around $8 for three bunnies (55g each), UTZ certified (you have to look hard to see it - the certification mark is covered by a sticker). Note that Countdown is also selling several other bunnies from the same company, which are NOT UTZ-certified so can’t be assumed to have been made without child labour.
The 85g After Eight bunny, available from The Warehouse for $4. There are no markings on the bunny packaging to suggest this was made with UTZ certified cocoa. We contacted the manufacturer, Nestle Deutschland, just in case. They confirmed the bunny was made with UTZ-certified cocoa after all, and explained the certification mark wasn’t displayed as there wasn’t room for it on the product.
The Chocolatier bunny on a motorbike is UTZ certified and only available at New World, 160g, $14.
The Warehouse is selling a chocolate bunny decorating kit, containing a chocolate bunny, icing and sprinkles. The bunny is made from UTZ certified cocoa, although note that all other Easter chocolate in the ‘Nice’ range is NOT. 115g for $6.
The Remarkable Chocolate Co is selling three bunnies this year: on their website, they claim to be ‘fairly traded’: from correspondence, we have learned this means they import couverture that is certified Fairtrade. You can buy their plain dark or raspberry dark chocolate bunnies from Countdown for around $17 for a 120g bunny; on their own website you can buy both of those, as well as a ginger caramel bunny - all $17.99. Award-winning chocolate that’s free of gluten, dairy, soy, nuts and palm oil.
Bennettos is selling handmade bunnies made from their Fairtrade certified chocolate: available in coconut, mint, coffee and intense dark flavours. The bunnies come giftwrapped with your choice of tag. $7 for a 60g bunny; vegan and organic. Available online.
Lastly you may or may not be able to find the Moo Free Original Bunny at your local vegan or whole foods store. At time of writing (mid-March) the shipment has been delayed. It’s a dairy-free ‘milk’ chocolate-style bunny, around $3 for 32g and, like all Moo Free products, is made from UTZ/Rainforest Alliance-certified cocoa.
The large smarties and rolo eggs - Rainforest Alliance-certified, $5-$8 depending on where you find them, selling at supermarkets and The Warehouse. Note that the certification marks have been covered over by import stickers but if you look carefully you can see the circular green Rainforest Alliance logo underneath.
The milky bar egg, sold at Countdown and Fresh Choice, is Rainforest Alliance certified; 65g for around $5.
The Warehouse is selling three NOMO eggs from Kinnerton - all free of dairy, gluten, egg and nuts. They come in ’creamy’, ’sea salt and caramel’ and even a nut-free ’hazelnot’ egg. All made with Rainforest Alliance-certified cocoa (although not displaying the logo on the packaging). $10 for a 110g egg.
Kmart is selling a wide range of own brand large hollow eggs made with UTZ/Rainforest Alliance certified cooca, including:
New World is selling Chocolatier’s dark chocolate salted-caramel egg, UTZ-certified, 150g for around $14.
You may or may not be able to find the Moo Free Original or Moo Free Bunnycomb Easter Eggs at your local vegan or whole foods store. At time of writing (mid-March) the shipment has been delayed. They’re dairy-free ‘milk’ chocolate-style eggs, around $12 for 95g and, like all Moo Free products, are made from UTZ/Rainforest Alliance-certified cocoa.
Both Countdown and New World are stocking three sets of six filled chocolatier eggs: decadent for dark chocolate lovers, enchanted with milk and white chocolate eggs and indulgent with a mix of milk, white and dark. Each set is 150g, $11-$13 and UTZ certified.
The 50g Smarties Funny Eggs, available at The Warehouse for $2.50. There are no markings on the packaging to suggest this was made with UTZ certified cocoa but the manufacturer, Nestle Hungary, has confirmed these eggs was made with UTZ-certified cocoa.
Smarties hide-me eggs - UTZ/RA-certified and selling for $5 for 105g at The Warehouse.
Another smarties egg hunt option is the smarties egg hunt pack from Countdown and Fresh Choice. Contains 8 small eggs filled with smarties; Rainforest Alliance-certified, 190g and selling for around $7-$8.
There’s also a Rainforest Alliance certified milky bar egg hunt pack - also from Countdown and Fresh Choice, this time 120g for $7-$8.
The Remarkable chocolate company is selling boxes of 6 smooth eggs or 6 raspberry eggs, as well as a mixed bag with 5 of each. On their website, they claim to be ‘fairly traded’: from correspondence, we have learned that they import couverture that is certified Fairtrade. The Remarkable Chocolate Company has won many prizes in the New Zealand Chocolate awards over the years, so these are bound to taste good! Look for them at Farros or buy online from their own website. Free from gluten, dairy, soy, nuts and palm oil; plastic-free packaging for the six-packs.
Bennettos is selling handmade eggs made from their Fairtrade certified chocolate: available in coconut, mint, coffee and intense dark flavours. The eggs come giftwrapped with your choice of tag. $7 for two 30g eggs; vegan and organic. Available online.
Ferrero produces bags of 10 mini eggs in both cocoa and hazelnut flavours. These have no certification marks on them BUT Fairtrade New Zealand has told us that they are made with Fairtrade cocoa through the Fairtrade Cocoa Programme. They’re widely available and sell for around $5-$6 for a 100g bag. Note that the rest of the Ferrero range isn’t made with Fairtrade cocoa: just these eggs and the squirrel.
Kmart is stocking Friedel mini ’funny eggs’, made with Fairtrade certified cocoa. $3.50 for a 100g bag.
Kitkat is also doing mini eggs - we’ve seen these widely; Rainforest Alliance certified, around $4-$5 for an 81g bag.
And there are orange-flavoured smarties mini eggs at some supermarkets as well, around $3 for an 80g bag, Rainforest Alliance.
In 2021, for the first time we can recommend the Whittakers Easter Kiwis. Previously these were made with mass-market cocoa, but they are now made with Rainforest Alliance cocoa.
The dark chocolate Kiwi seems to be available exclusively at The Warehouse, $7 for a 75g Kiwi (20c of that price goes to Kiwi conservation).
The milk chocolate Kiwi is available more widely, and sells for $6-$7 for a 75g Kiwi (again, 20c of that price goes to Kiwi conservation).
The Ferrero Easter squirrel is made with Fairtrade Cocoa. It has no certification marks on it BUT Fairtrade New Zealand has told us that they are made with cocoa purchased through the Fairtrade Cocoa Programme. They’re widely available and sell for around $5-$6 for a 90g squirrel. Note that the rest of the Ferrero range isn’t made with Fairtrade cocoa: just the squirrel and the mini eggs mentioned above.
Kmart has an Easter mug with a 60g Easter egg inside for $5 and various letters of the alphabet made in chocolate with an Easter bunny on the side (40g, $2), all made with UTZ/Rainforest Alliance cocoa.
Also from Kmart and also UTZ-certified is a set of light-up bunny ears with an Easter egg ($5, 60g egg), an Easter egg decorating kit with a flat chocolate egg ($5, 140g) and Easter chocolate freckles (70g, $3) in both bunny and Easter egg shapes.
Kinnerton is selling three mugs (with designs from Frozen II, Avengers and Friends) each with a 50g milk chocolate egg; they also have a 165g Iron Man hollow egg and an Olaf puppet with 51g of small eggs. These are all made with Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa and are available from the Warehouse for $7-$12. Nut safe.
Countdown and Fresh Choice are selling the Candylishus Monster Truck - two toy trucks with 4 UTZ-certified 20g hollow Easter eggs. Around $13. We haven’t spotted anything else from the Candylishus range this year, but last year they did were a range of toys with Easter eggs. Anything else you find from Candylishus is likely also made with UTZ-certified cocoa.
The Warehouse is stocking Wawi ducks and lambs, $8 for a 150g hollow figurine, UTZ-certified.
Wellington Chocolate Factory is making a limited-edition cinnamon and raisin 85g bar for Easter. As with all their chocolate, it is Fairtrade and organic. Wellington Chocolate Factory won two golds and a silver in the New Zeland Chocolate Awards in 2020, so this is bound to taste good! Available from their website for $12.50 or look for it at your local organic and whole food store.
Bennettos is selling handmade hens made from their Fairtrade certified chocolate: available in coconut, mint, coffee and intense dark flavours. The hens come giftwrapped with your choice of tag. $12 for a 100g hen; vegan and organic. Available online. They’re also selling 150g blocks of vegan rocky road for $12 as an Easter special :-)
If you want child-labour free chocolate-coated marshmallow eggs your only option is to make your own using fairly traded chocolate; making your own also gives you more options for small eggs with flavoured fillings.
We have recipes for marshmallow eggs (both regular and vegan) as well as creme eggs (both classic vanilla and peppermint - the peppermint ones are also vegan) and eggs with a hazelnut/chocolate filling.
To make regular marshmallow eggs (recipe), you need a strong electric beater and some gelatine - a cooking thermometer also helps. They take a while to do as the marshmallow takes around four hours to set, but they’re pretty straight-forward and are reasonably easy to do with primary-aged children.
If you’re wanting to make vegan marshmallow eggs (which are also a better choice for vegetarians, pregnant people and people with religious restrictions on meat-eating, such as Muslims and Hindus) instructions are here.
Hard-shelled eggs are best made with moulds: you can buy a range here. I use their small cracked egg mould, which makes eggs a bit smaller than commercial creme eggs. If you’re buying moulds elsewhere, make sure you get hard plastic ones not flexible silicone ones - filled chocolates tend to collapse when made in silicone moulds. But, if you’re reading this just before Easter and it’s too late to buy moulds, check out the instructions towards the end of the creme egg recipe on how to make filled eggs without them. Just be warned that they will come out a bit munted!
Hazelnut eggs are very easy to make - the hardest part is likely sourcing some hazelnut butter! Try your local health food store, and make sure you’re buying hazelnut butter made from New Zealand hazelnuts. Child labour is a huge issue in the Turkish hazelnut industry and Turkey dominates the world market.
Creme eggs are more tricky (especially the classic white and yellow vanilla ones) and require a strong beater and some invertase (an enzyme that makes the filling gooey - look for it at shops that specialise in cake baking supplies); a sugar thermometer is also handy.