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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Organic, Fairtrade Chocolate Hits Ethical Niche

Food Navigator -- The Premium Organic White Bar and Swiss Dark Chocolate with Mint Crisps bar are the latest extensions to the company's successful Organica range which was developed to target ethical consumers.

Market analyst Mintel forecasts that UK shoppers are set to spend over £2 billion (€2.6bn) on ethical foods this year alone and the trend has been making inroads into the confectionery industry with organic chocolatiers such as market leader Green & Blacks experiencing sales growth from £10m (€14.8m) to £50m (€73.8) in the last four years.

Within the ethical foods market, Fairtrade remains the star performer in terms of sales growth. The niche is set to be worth £230m (€342m) by the end of this year, experiencing some 265 per cent growth between 2002 and 2006 alone.

Both the UK Soil Association and Fairtrade Foundation have approved the Venture bars – certifying their organic and fairtrade status.

According to market researchers Leatherhead International the UK organic chocolate market is the largest in the EU with sales of $35m (€27.3m) in 2005.

But it's not just the British market that is feeling the need to go organic – figures provided by Mintel's Global New Product Database, (GNPD) show that 170 new organic chocolate products have been launched globally in the past year.

The new Organica chocolate will be on sale in upmarket retailing chain, Waitrose, priced £1.79 (€2.66) for a single 100g bar.

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While most people enjoy chocolate, it’s no treat for the hundreds of thousands of labourers who pick the cocoa that goes into some of our favourite sweets. Much of our chocolate comes from the Ivory Coast region of West Africa, where cocoa production is an enormous part of the economy. In Ghana, 40% of the country’s export revenues come from the sale of cocoa. Unfortunately, very little of the profit goes to the farmers who grow the cocoa beans. Cocoa farmers receive about a penny for a candy bar selling for 60 cents. More on www.fairtrade.net.

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