Mars bar goes Fairtrade in UK under new sourcing program

By Oliver Nieburg contact

- Last updated on GMT

Mars says Fairtrade deal brings ethically sourced cocoa one step closer to becoming the norm in the chocolate industry
Mars says Fairtrade deal brings ethically sourced cocoa one step closer to becoming the norm in the chocolate industry

Related tags: Fairtrade cocoa, Chocolate, Fairtrade

Mars bars in the UK and Ireland will use Fairtrade cocoa under the certification body’s new Cocoa Sourcing Program.

Fairtrade introduced the Fairtrade Sourcing Program​ (FSP) last year. It allows companies to bulk buy a single commodity as Fairtrade. Previously, companies had to source all ingredients for a brand on Fairtrade terms.

Back-of-pack logo

Mars will source 100% Fairtrade cocoa for UK Mars brand singles, multipacks, snack size, fun size and limited editions by autumn 2015. Mars Mix, milk drinks, ice cream, miniatures and seasonal products such as Easter eggs and advent calendars are not included.

Participating products will carry a Fairtrade Cocoa Program (FSP) logo on the back of packs and on transportation boxes, but there may not be room for the mark on Mars singles.

fairtrade cocoa logo1
The Fairtrade Cocoa Program allows companies to buy all the cocoa they need for their chocolate, cakes or biscuits. It also allows firms to purchase a percentage of the cocoa they need for their business such as 10% or 30% as Fairtrade. Companies in the program have the option to use the program mark (pictured). Only brands that source all ingredients that can be sourced as Fairtrade can use the full mark.

Companies in the FSP have the option to use a program mark, but only brands that source all ingredients that can be sourced as Fairtrade can use the full mark.

Mars to pay $2m in Fairtrade premiums by 2016

Mars is first company to source cocoa under the FSP in the UK. The firm has sourced UTZ Certified cocoa for Mars bars in the Netherlands​ since 2011.

At the International Sweets and Biscuits Fair (ISM) last year, nine companies including Mars, German chocolate maker Riegelein and the Rewe Group made commitments to source cocoa under the FSP. At the time, Mars said it would source 100% Fairtrade cocoa for Twix in Germany.

Maltesers fairtrade
Mars has sourced certified cocoa for Maltesers in the UK since 2012 under Fairtrade’s original rules. Mars’ UK Galaxy uses Rainforest Alliance cocoa, but the company has yet to make a UK commitment on certified cocoa for Snickers.

Mars said the latest agreement would take its premiums paid to Fairtrade cocoa cooperatives in West Africa to over $2m a year by 2016. In 2009, Mars committed to sourcing 100% certified cocoa globally by 2020.

Top five UK chocolate brands now certified

Eileen Maybin, head of media relations at Fairtrade UK, told ConfectioneryNews: “This move by Mars means that by October 2015, all of the top five chocolate brands in the UK will be sourcing certified cocoa. Four of these – Maltesers, Mars Bars, Cadbury Dairy Milk and KitKat – are sourcing Fairtrade certified cocoa and working with the Fairtrade Foundation.“

The fifth top UK brand sourcing certified cocoa is Galaxy, which uses Rainforest Alliance cocoa.

Blas Maquivar, president of Mars Chocolate UK, said Mars’ latest commitment meant its top three UK chocolate brands sourced certified cocoa, supporting farmers to improve yields.

“This partnership brings us one step closer to sustainable, ethically sourced cocoa becoming the norm in the chocolate industry,”​ he said.

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1 comment

Just a first step

Posted by Justalazy Pseudonym,

There's a difference between Fairtrade and a proper assured supply chain. With the Fairtrade logo, Mars are still manufacturing using cocoa beans traded on the world commodity market.
Fairtrade is only a guarantee of a minimum price for a certain tonnage of product purchased, just like "green" energy. It's entirely conceivable that a Fairtrade branded Mars bar has been made without a single ethically produced cocoa bean.
Yes, i may be looking a gift horse in the mouth, but Fairtrade isn't enough to say that any given Mars bars is free from child or forced labour, and to ethical or environmentally sustainable standards.
It's definitely a step in the right direction, but it's only the first one (sorry!)

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