Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Geneva — Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut has signed a partnership with top Dutch retailer Albert Heijn to make its private-label chocolate fully traceable from 2019, reflecting consumers’ growing interest in ethical sourcing.

From March 2019, Albert Heijn’s private-label brand Delicata will be made from fully traceable cocoa, bought at a higher price from ethical chocolate company Tony’s Chocolonely’s partner co-operatives in Ghana and Ivory Coast, the three partners said.

Barry Callebaut has been making chocolate for Albert Heijn and Tony’s Chocolonely for years and will in future use the separate sourcing chain it set up for Tony’s to make Albert Heijn’s chocolate, representatives of the three companies said.

“The new Delicata chocolate will have the yellow-orange label with the open chain Tony’s uses to indicate to consumers it was sourced sustainably,” said Jeroen Hirdes, responsible for chocolate sourcing at Albert Heijn, which belongs to grocery group Ahold Delhaize.

As consumers increasingly care more about how their food and drink is produced, companies are trying to make their supply chains more sustainable and transparent.

Hirdes said Albert Heijn would pay Barry Callebaut more for using traceable chocolate from Tony’s “open chain”. It will pass on part of the costs to consumers by increasing prices for its Delicata range, which has annual sales of about €30m ($34m).

Barry Callebaut, which also supplies chocolate to Nestle and Mondelez, has vowed to eradicate child labour from its supply chain by 2025. It hopes more of its customers will follow the Dutch supermarket chain’s example.

“The bigger the scale, the more efficient it becomes. We invite others to join,” said Wim Debedts, sales director for Benelux and Nordics at Barry Callebaut.

Henk Jan Beltman, chief chocolate officer at Tony’s Chocolonely, which has turned its “slave-free” chocolate into a commercial success, said industry partnerships are key to accelerating sustainability in the whole sector. “You can only have an impact if you work together,” he said.

Tony’s generated a net profit of €2.7m on net revenue of €44.9m in 2016/17. — Reuters