Slave free cocoa products in New Zealand

This post contains a list of all cocoa products we are aware of for sale in New Zealand that are made without forced or child labour. To jump straight through to the list, click here, or read on to learn more about the issues first.

Cocoa is what started Just Kai!

Some years ago we were horrified to learn that every time we bought chocolate or other cocoa products we were paying people to enslave children. Children who had been trafficked to work on cocoa farms in West Africa, denied schooling, denied wages and ‘encouraged’ to work by being beaten with bicycle chains. In addition, low cocoa prices seem to drive many families to send their kids out to work, meaning those kids never get an education. Instead, they commonly work 12 hour days and are frequently beaten. It’s hard to get accurate figures of how wide-spread these practises are, but the 2018 Global Slavery Index estimates:

  • around 29,700 people (16,000 of them children) are enslaved on on cocoa farms in Ghana and the Ivory Coast - working without pay and unable to leave;
  • 1.6 million children also work on these cocoa farms (out of a total workforce of 5 million);
  • 1.4 million of these children are doing work hazardous to their physical health.

Given that 60% of all cocoa in the world is grown in Ghana and the Ivory coast and 1/3 of the workforce there are children, 1/5th of all cocoa is grown by children. Out of every 10 squares of chocolate you eat, 2 are the product of child labour.

In 2005 many US chocolate companies signed the Harkin-Engel Protocol committing to ending the worst forms of child labour. However, this protocol is non-binding and little has changed: child labour continues to be widely used.

Who would want to support all that??!!

The good news is, you don’t have to! You can, instead, choose to only buy fairly traded cocoa, chocolate and other cocoa products. The more consumers who make this choice, the fewer children will be enslaved and the more farmers will receive sufficient wages to be able to afford to send their kids to school.

Whenever you buy anything with cocoa in it, check the label: if it’s marked Fairtrade, WFTO, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ* you can be confident it’s free of child and slave labour, and that the farmers have received at least a little more than market price for their beans. However, these certifications aren’t created equal. Throughout the list you’ll see Fairtrade and WFTO-certified products listed first for two reasons:

  1. they provide significantly better conditions for farmers and pay more than the other two. Pay is really important, as the major driver for child labour in the cocoa industry is such low prices that parents have no choice but to set their kids to work if the family is to survive;
  2. all risky ingredients in the product (e.g. sugar, vanilla, nuts) are certified slave-free, not just the cocoa

*Rainforest Alliance and UTZ have recently merged - by the end of 2021 the UTZ logo will no longer be used.

Our list also includes products made with single-origin Samoan cocoa. Perhaps uniquely amongst cocoa growing countries, child labour, forced labour and the unsafe use of agrochemicals do not appear to occur in the cocoa industry there.

Slave-free cocoa products available in New Zealand

last updated: July 2021

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chocolate blocks

Chocolate blocks with WFTO certification

Trade Aid - available at their own shops (including online) and some supermarkets. All flavours, including:

  • classic dark chocolate (55%) - vegan friendly
  • pure dark chocolate (70%) - vegan friendly
  • extra dark chocolate (85%) - vegan friendly
  • rich milk chocolate (40%)
  • milk hazelnut (40%)
  • milk chocolate caramel crunch (40%)
  • dark raspberry chocolate (55%) - vegan friendly
  • dark chocolate with mint (70%) - vegan friendly
  • dark chocolate with salt toffee crisp (70%)

Chocolate blocks with Fairtrade certification

  • Tonys Chocolonley, available online or from some supermarkets. All flavours, including:

    • milk chocolate
    • milk chocolate caramel sea salt
    • white chocolate raspberry popping candy
    • milk chocolate hazelnut
    • dark chocolate
    • dark chocolate almond seasalt
  • Green and Blacks, Available in most supermarkets. NB only these three flavours - all the rest of the range is certified through Cocoa Life, an in-house certification that is much less robust:

    • milk
    • dark
    • 85% dark.
  • Wellington Chocolate Factory, all flavours, including:

    • raspberry milk
    • star anise milk
    • salted caramel (in both dark and milk)
    • coconut milk
    • ANZAC dark
    • Peru single-origin
  • Bennetto Chocolate, all flavours (which are also all vegan):

    • amaranth and sea salt
    • raspberry in dark
    • toasted hazelnut
    • mint and cacao nibs
    • orange with chilli
    • intense dark
    • coconut
    • coffee bean
  • Pico chocolate, available in health food shops, all flavours (all of which are also vegan) including:

    • hazelnut milk
    • sea salt
    • salted caramel
    • super dark
    • mint crisp

Single-origin Samoan chocolate blocks

  • Ola Pacifica (all 60% cocoa, all vegan, all carbon neutral) - buy online or from selected Z petrol stations, supermarkets and health food shops (stockists list)

    • almond
    • orange
    • coffee
  • Whittakers single origin Samoan cocoa 70% dark chocolate
  • Devonport Chocolates Samoan range only:

    • dark
    • dark with Fijian ginger
    • coconut milk

Chocolate blocks with UTZ or Rainforest Alliance certification

  • Whittakers entire range, with the exception of their single-origin Samoan and Nicargaguan chocolate. This includes their 250g classic blocks, e.g.:

    • berry forest
    • creamy milk
    • dark Ghana
    • almond gold
    • salted caramel
    • white chocolate
    • hokey pokey
  • also Whittakers 100g specialty blocks, which include:

    • extra dark (86%)
    • intense dark (92%)
    • coffee supreme flat white
    • Italian piedmont hazelnut
    • Nelson pear and manuka honey
    • saffron salted caramel
  • Kit Kat chocolate blocks, all flavours, including:

    • family break
    • dark chocolate
    • chocolate whirl
  • Rolo block
  • Aero blocks:

    • milk chocolate
    • minty bubbles
    • caramel
  • Countdown own brand blocks:

    • white
    • milk
    • salted caramel
    • hazelnut
  • Nestle Crunch
  • Kinnerton NOMO (allergy friendly, available from The Warehouse - note that they don’t display a certification mark, but say on their website that they use 100% Rainforest Alliance cocoa), all flavours including:

    • creamy
    • hazelnot

hot chocolate

Hot chocolate with WFTO or Fairtrade certification

Hot chocolate with Rainforest Alliance or UTZ certification

  • Milo
  • Countdown own brand:

    • hot chocolate
    • instant drinking chocolate (can mix with cold milk)
    • mocha
    • cappucino
  • West Coast Cocoa

    • deluxe
    • dark deluxe
    • peppermint
    • mayan chilli
    • caramel
  • Douwe Egberts cacoa fantasy powder - available from office supply stores
  • Allens Fantales hot chocolate
  • Aero hot chocolate

Notes:

  1. Devonport Chocolates products other than their cocoa powder and hot chocolate don’t use Fairtrade certified cocoa.
  2. Milo and Nesquik products other than actual drinking chocolate powders (e.g. cereal, muesli bars, drink boxes) don’t appear to use Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa.

chocolate bars

Chocolate bars with WFTO certification

  • Trade Aid 50g milk chocolate and dark chocolate bars

Chocolate bars with Fairtrade certification

  • Wellington Chcoolate Factory 25g bars, all flavours (available both as singles and in boxes of around 20):

    • salted caramel
    • Peru (single-origin)
    • raspberry milk chocolate
  • Vego (Fairtrade) vegan hazelnut chocolate bar, almond bliss bar (white chocolate) and nuts and berries bar

Chocolate bars with UTZ or Rainforest Alliance certification

  • Whittakers slabs and mini slabs, all flavours, including:

    • peanut slab
    • creamy milk
    • almond slab
    • berry and biscuit
    • hokey pokey
  • Whittakers bars, all flavours, including:

    • fruit and nut
    • dark Ghana
    • white chocolate
  • Whittakers sante, all flavours, including:

    • creamy milk
    • dark chocolate
    • white chocolate
  • Whittakers toffee milk
  • KitKat, all flavours, including:

    • classic (various sizes)
    • chunky chocolate
    • chocolate fudge sundae
  • Pixie caramel
  • Smarties bar
  • Chokito
  • Nestle Aero bars all flavours, which are:

    • milk chocolate
    • minty bubbles
    • caramel
  • Kinnerton milk chocolate bars

chocolate biscuits

Chocolate biscuits with UTZ or Rainforest Alliance certification

  • Griffins chocolate snaps range:

    • mint treat
    • super wine
    • digestive
    • gingernuts

chocolate ice cream and frozen desserts

Ice cream and frozen desserts with Fairtrade certification

  • Ben and Jerry’s whole range (their tubs and slices are widely available, or buy ice cream cones from their scoop shops). Flavours include:

    • chocolate chip cookie dough (in both dairy and dairy free versions)
    • chocolate fudge brownie (astonishingly rich! Comes in dairy and dairy free versions)
    • various flavours with chocolate-coated toffee chunks, some also available dairy free
    • mint choc chip
    • coffee with choc-coated coffee beans
    • peanut butter and cookies (vegan)
  • NiceBlocks chocolate iceblocks (Fairtrade) - they do a range of other fair trade flavours as well :-)

Note that Little Island ice creams no longer use fair trade cocoa :-(

Ice cream and frozen desserts with Rainforest Alliance certification

  • Magnum ice creams on sticks, all flavours and sizes. This includes:

    • classic (both dairy and dairy free)
    • almond (both dairy and dairy free)
    • white
    • peppermint
    • honeycomb crunch
    • dairy free sea salt and caramel
    • luxe ruby and raspberry
  • Magnum ice cream in tubs, all flavours. This includes:

    • almond
    • classic
    • white
    • luxe gold caramelized chocolate
    • white chocolate and cookies

cocoa powder and baking supplies

baking ingredients with WFTO or Fairtrade certification

  • cocoa:

  • dark chocolate drops:

    • Trade Aid (WFTO)
  • cacao nibs:

    • Pams superfoods (Fairtrade certified but don’t display the Fairtrade logo)
  • cocoa butter:

    • Pams superfoods (Fairtrade certified but don’t display the Fairtrade logo)
    • Trade Aid cocoa butter (WFTO) - available exclusively from Piko Wholefoods in Christchurch (they deliver throughout the South Island)

baking ingredients with Samoan cocoa

baking ingredients with UTZ or Rainforest Alliance certification

chocolate sweets

Chocolate sweets with WFTO or Fairtrade certification

  • Trade Aid dark chocolate almonds (WFTO)
  • Trade Aid milk chocolate cashews (WFTO)
  • Vego (Fairtrade) vegan hazelnut pralines
  • Serious Popcorn dark chocolate drizzled popcorn (Fairtrade)

Chocolate sweets with Rainforest Alliance or UTZ certification

  • Nestle milk chocolate scorched almonds and after eights
  • smarties
  • Rolo and Aero bubbles share packs
  • Countdown milk chocolate almonds, sultanas, peanuts and licorice bullets
  • Allens freckles and fantales (note that the Allens bites do not appear to use Rainforest Alliance-certified chocolate)
  • Kinnerton milk chocolate lollipops

chocolate spread and sauce

chocolate spreads and sauces with WFTO or Fairtrade certification

chocolate spreads with UTZ or Rainforest Alliance certification

chocolate milk

  • Little Island chocolate coconut milk (Fairtrade).
  • make your own from UTZ/Rainforest Alliance-certified powders. These are the ones that claim to dissolve well in cold milk:

    • Countdown own brand instant drinking chocolate
    • Nesquik chocolate milk powder
    • milo

toiletries and cosmetics

  • LUSH - WHERE MARKED (Fairtrade). LUSH sell a range of bath, body, face and hair products, many of which contain cocoa butter. Always check the ingredients list: if the cocoa is fair trade it will say so after the ingredient name, if it doesn’t it isn’t. Most of their cocoa butter is fair trade but the cocoa butter in 2-3 products isn’t; none of the other cocoa products they use (e.g. cocoa powder) are currently fair trade. The cocoa butter in three products comes from the incredible Comunidad de Paz de San José de Apartadó: check them out - I was humbled to read of their commitment to peace-making in very difficult circumstances and would love to support them. Search for your nearest LUSH store here.

If you wish to make your own cosmetics, Go Native supplies non-food-grade cocoa butter for this purpose. They have two products, both of which are certified fair trade but both through certifiers we rarely see in New Zealand. This means Just Kai hasn’t analysed these certifications in the same detail we have analysed the certifications we recommend throughout this document. However, based on information in the International Guide to Fair Trade Labels, we make the following recommendations:

  • Fair for Life seems to be an excellent standard, with similar standards to Fairtrade applied with similar rigour. Go Native supplies non-food-grade cocoa butter certified to this standard. We are confident this will have been produced without child or slave labour. They also supply both refined and unrefined shea butter certified through Fair for Life.
  • Fairtrade USA, on the other hand, seems not to be a very good certification. It has good standards in terms of child and slave labour, but there is clearly a lot of concern that they are not effectively identifying suppliers that violate these standards. We do not recommend Fairtrade USA products. However, a product certified through them is still less likely to have used child or slave labour than a product with no certification at all. If you are making cosmetics and can’t do without deodorised cocoa butter, the deodorised cocoa butter certified by Fairtrade USA sold by Go Native is probably your best option.