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Tony's Chocolonely is a Dutch confectionery company producing and selling chocolate closely following fair trade practices, opposing chattel slavery and child labour by partnering with trading companies in Ghana and Ivory Coast to buy cocoa beans directly from the farmers, providing them with a premium price for their cocoa beans and combating exploitation. Since 2013, Tony’s has paid 20% on top of the farm gate price. The farm gate is the price that the cocoa board of the local governments sets; the company is not a worker cooperative.
Tony's Chocolonely milk chocolate bar
November 29, 2005
|Henk Jan Beltman|
Teun van de Keuken
In 2002, investigative reporter Teun van de Keuken of the Dutch television show Keuringsdienst van Waarde found that none of the chocolate manufacturers that had signed the Harkin–Engel Protocol was upholding the agreements made in 2001 (producing 'slave-free' chocolate from 2005 on). He decided to take action himself by recording himself eating 17 bars of chocolate and subsequently taking himself to court for "knowingly purchasing an illegally manufactured product". To make a case against himself, he convinced four former cocoa plantation child slaves from Ivory Coast to testify against him. By 2007, the Dutch attorney general had the case dismissed for being outside their jurisdiction.
When none of the companies he contacted showed any interest in producing chocolate bars made differently, he started manufacturing his own chocolate, and in November introduced a milk chocolate bar made entirely from 'slave-free' cocoa. The name of the company is derived from the fact that he created the business by himself, without any help from the already existing chocolate industry.
On February 6, 2007, a court ruling in Amsterdam officially acknowledged that Tony's Chocolonely chocolate was produced in a slave-free manner. A Dutch importer for Swiss-brand chocolates unsuccessfully sued the team behind Tony's Chocolonely for reputation damage.
When a hazelnut milk chocolate bar was added to the lineup in 2010, Dutch TV show Een Vandaag reported that 9-year-old children participated in the Turkish hazelnut harvest. The company responded by immediately switching to a local hazelnut supplier from the Netherlands. The same year, the market-share of the brand exceeded 4.5 percent in the Netherlands.
In 2011 Henk Jan Beltman became a majority shareholder and moved the company to a new location near Westergasfabriek.
Tony's cocoa mass has been fully traceable since 2013, and the cocoa butter since 2016.
By the end of 2018, in addition to its home country of the Netherlands, Tony's Chocolonely was also on sale in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden, and the United States. In the Netherlands its market share was 19% in 2018, with which it surpassed multinationals Verkade, Mars and Nestlé.
In 2019 Tony's launched their chocolate bars in the United Kingdom and Romania, with Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Ocado, Mega Image and Whole Foods being some of the first stores to stock their products.
The number of available bar flavors varies by country and distribution channel. For example, over a dozen flavors are available in the Netherlands. The chocolate bars are unevenly divided, symbolizing the inequal distribution of incomes in the chocolate industry.
In the United States, the available flavors of the chocolate bars are (in descending order by time available):
- Milk chocolate 32%
- Extra dark chocolate 70%
- Milk caramel sea salt 32%
- Dark almond sea salt 51%
- Dark milk pretzel toffee 42%
- Dark pecan coconut 51%
- Milk hazelnut 32%
- Milk honey almond nougat 32%
- White raspberry popping candy 28%
While types of products vary in a similar fashion to flavor count, most regions have:
- Large bars (180 grams)
- Small bars (50 grams)
- Tiny Tony's (9 grams)
- Seasonal items (including holiday bars and chocolate Easter eggs)
Items unavailable outside of Europe include:
- Personalized chocolate bars
- Chocolate milk
- Chocolate letters
The company introduces three new chocolate bar flavors each year between October and December. The most popular of the three limited editions is then added to the exclusive collection, and sometimes the permanent collection. The company also produces limited edition 'relay' bars for the supermarket chain Albert Heijn, with exclusive flavors corresponding to winter and summer tastes. These flavors rotate every six months. Some bars have entered the permanent collection from there.
- In 2020, the company was named the most sustainable brand in the Netherlands for the third time by the Sustainable Brand Index.
- "Tony's Chocolonely commits to paying Living Income Reference Price". Confectionery Production. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
- Uitspraak Rechtbank Amsterdam, 06 februari 2007, ECLI:NL:RBAMS:2007:AZ7870 (Dutch)
- Tony's Chocolonely mag zich slaafvrij noemen, Trouw, 6 February 2007. (Dutch)
- Hoe haalbaar is Fair Trade? (Dutch)
- Bij Tony Chocolonely draait het niet alleen om winst maken (Dutch)
- "Duurzame chocolade met volledig traceerbare cacaoboter". duurzaam-ondernemen.nl (in Dutch). 19 July 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
- "we doen 't saaaaamen". TonysChocolonely.com. Retrieved 7 January 2019. (Dutch)
- "Hoe duurzaam is Tony's Chocolonely?". FM.ml. Retrieved 29 November 2018. (Dutch)
- "Tony's Chocolonely Brings Slave Free Chocolate Mission To UK Supermarkets Sainsbury's Whole Foods". Forbes. 2019-01-19. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
- "Tony's Chocoshop". Tony's Chocolonely (in Dutch). Retrieved 2019-07-17.
- "Tony's Chocolonely repen zijn expres ongelijk verdeeld". Culy.nl. 2012-05-17. Retrieved 2020-02-21.
- "Tony's Chocolonely". Tony's Chocolonely. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
- "chocoshop". TonysChocolonely.com. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
- "Tony's Chocolonely named most sustainable Dutch brand for third time". iamsterdam.com. 25 May 2020. Retrieved 31 August 2020.