Responsible Sourcing Advisor
Welwyn Garden City
7 Apr 2017
How responsibly sourced cocoa in all our Easter Eggs supports our growers.
This year all our Tesco UK own-label Easter Eggs are made from responsibly sourced cocoa. I visited the Ivory Coast to see the problems the cocoa industry is facing and to understand how, by sourcing cocoa responsibly, Tesco can help change things.
Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer of cocoa but faces many challenges. One of the biggest issues for farmers is low productivity. Ageing cocoa trees and lack of farming expertise has led to decreased yields. However, on a visit to a co-operative we saw the benefits of farmer field schools. Our suppliers focus on teaching good agricultural practices that help farmers get the most from their land. Farmers learn how to manage pests and diseases and efficient harvesting practices. This is valuable training that they would be otherwise unable to access.
Another challenge is the ageing farmer population and limited interest in farming from young people. The farmers we met told us their children wanted to find employment in cities, rather than farming. This threatens the industry’s future. By making the industry more lucrative through sharing best practices, existing farmers are encouraging more young people to enter the industry.
Cocoa-growing communities also face many challenges. By sourcing cocoa responsibly, a premium is paid for the cocoa. The premium is invested back into these communities, to tackle issues such as child labour and trafficking or aid women’s empowerment. This means Tesco can support farmers and their communities.
In July 2016, Tesco committed to make all our Tesco own-label chocolate confectionary Rainforest Alliance Certified. The chocolate in all our other own-label products such as cakes and cereal will also be responsibly sourced using a combination of sustainability programmes by the end of 2018.
It’s fantastic that this Easter our entire chocolate egg range will contain responsibly sourced cocoa! The cocoa industry has a long way to go in the Ivory Coast, but I've seen the real benefits of our commitment.