Friends of the Earth Malta with the support of project partner Sudwind (through the Supply Cha!nge Project) evaluated 62 supermarket store brand chocolates from 11 leading Maltese supermarkets. The results show 38 products rated red, 16 rated orange and only 5 rated green for environmental and social criteria.
62 storebrand chocolates (including 4 easter-themed products) were tested by Friends of the Earth Malta regarding their social and ecological quality through the Supply Cha!nge – Make Supermarkets Fair EU project.
Only 5 storebrand chocolates were found to be of high social and ecological quality (green), all branded as Carrefour products:
Carrefour bio, Cioccolato extra fondente ; Extra fine Biologico Equosolidale (Tower Supermarket, Sliema)
Cioccolato finissimo al latte – Extra fine (Trolees, Qawra)
Carrefour bio, Cioccolato extra fondente ; Extra fine Biologico Equosolidale (GS Supermarket, Mellieha)
Cacao – Amaro in polvere – Biologico equosolidale (GS Supermarket Mellieha, GS Superstore Naxxar)
38 Storebrands were marked Red, indicating issues of social and environmental exploitation throughout the supply chain. All stores that were evaluated contained these red-rated products with varying degrees. Scotts and Smart Supermarket had the highest rate of red-rated storebrand chocolates (11 out of 11 and 18 out of 19 evaluated store brand chocolates for Scotts and Smart respectively).
Lidl showed the highest rate of orange-rated storebrand chocolates (14 out of 16 store brand chocolates), only 1 red-rated item and one green-rated item.
Chocolates are a popular dessert used in traditional desserts, icecreams, sauces and consumed frequently. A good chunk of these items are found as supermarket store brands.
During this time of year, a lot of Maltese people carry out fasting or sacrifice sweets for lent – Easter Sunday is anticipated greatly as the day when the fast is broken, generally celebrated with a family feast, figolli, chocolate eggs and bunnies and sweet delicacies all around.
„Easter celebrations, including breaking fast, are an integral part of Maltese society however our research has found that some of the chocolate we're eating raise some moral and ethical questions“ the researchers from Friends of the Earth Malta explain. „More than 2 million children work in cocoa farms in West Africa. In Ghana, farmers earn circa 80c per day, while farmers in the Ivory Coast only earn 50c a day. Only 6.6% of the price we pay for a chocolate bar goes to the farmer producing the cocoa. Highly toxic pesticides used in the farming industry harms the farmers‘ and their families‘ health and environment.“
These issues are a central part of the European Campaign : Supply Chainge – Make Supermarkets Fair.
Friends of the Earth Malta urges local supermarkets to step up their game and ensure their chocolate products in the store are certified as fair and ecological – allowing people to indulge in guilt-free chocolate.
Executive Summary of the research report : Bittersweet Chocolate : The Truth Behind the International Chocolate Industry.
(The full Bittersweet Chocolate report is available on request.)