Cargill has certified its Off the Shelf Chocolate range to bring ethical cocoa to smaller users as demand for sustainable products booms.
The company’s range now carries the UTZ Certified label, meaning the cocoa used to make the chocolate has come from farms that avoid child labour and seek a better deal for farmers.
Harry Venema, commercial director for chocolate at Cargill said: “In response to customer demand, we are making our Off the Shelf dark, milk and white chocolate available with the UTZ Certified label.”
Cargill said the global demand for sustainable products was rising with over 10,000 new product launches making sustainability claims last year compared to around 5,000 in 2009.
“Chocolate products are also moving in this direction, with the number launched making a sustainability claim almost doubling over the same period, from 938 in 2009 to 1,770 in 2011,” said the company.
Available to small users
By certifying the range, Cargill said that it hoped to bring certified sustainable cocoa within the reach of manufacturers using smaller amounts of chocolate, starting from a single pallet.
“This brings high quality certified sustainable chocolate within reach of our smaller yet valued chocolate customers for the first time, enabling them to offer their consumers products with the reassurance that beans have been cultivated sustainably,” said Venema.
Daan de Vries, field director of UTZ Certified added: “Many larger chocolate users have responded to the growing sustainability trend, but until now smaller users have found it more difficult to access sustainable chocolate. Inclusiveness is an important objective of UTZ, which means the program should be accessible to all sizes of farmers and chocolate makers. “
The Off the Shelf chocolate range comes in 10 kg boxes of either milk, dark or white chocolate. The range is suitable for applications in bakery, confectionery and ice cream.
UTZ Certified is an independent third party organisation that carries out audits on cocoa farms to ensure no malpractice has occurred.
The organisation is currently working with Mars to help the chocolate company achieve 100% certified sustainable cocoa by 2020. (See HERE )
UTZ Certified also works with Nestlé, which recently allowed a probe of the cocoa farms supplying its factories that unearthed multiple violations of Nestlé’s supplier code, particularly through the use of child labour. (See HERE and HERE )