Lidl’s own brand chocolate bar benefits cocoa farmers

This month, Lidl US will begin offering U.S. customers what the deep-discount retailer has described as the first and only private brand chocolate bar that contributes to a living income for cocoa farmers.

Rolling out Dec. 16, the Way to Go! milk and dark chocolate bar line uses 100% traceable and sustainable Fairtrade cocoa sourced from the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative in Ghana. The product guarantees that farmers at the co-op receive at least the Fairtrade Minimum Price for cocoa and the Fairtrade Premium, an extra sum of money for farmers to invest in their farms and communities. Further, Lidl, a longtime partner of Fairtrade, has teamed with the organization to pay an innovative second premium for every metric ton of cocoa purchased for the Way to Go! bars. Lidl’s premium helps farmers boost income; diversify into new categories such as honey, rice or soap; and develop new farming techniques to increase yields and income over the long term.

“We are thrilled to see Lidl grow its presence in the U.S. and demonstrate it is possible to produce and sell affordable, sustainable chocolate, prioritizing human rights as well as the bottom line,” noted Peg Willingham, executive director of Washington, D.C.-based Fairtrade America. “If more retailers followed in Lidl’s footsteps by Fairtrade certifying their private label chocolate as well as by taking the extra step towards paying cocoa producers a living income, it would help eradicate systemic poverty in the cocoa industry, which contributes to child labor practices, deforestation and more. It is our hope that Lidl’s innovation spurs others to move toward a fair and ethical supply chain when sourcing cocoa.”

“Lidl is committed to investing in products and business models that deliver greater returns to people working in the supply chain, and this is especially important in the cocoa industry,” said Stefan Schwarz, EVP of purchasing at Arlington, Va.-based Lidl US. “By designing and launching the first private label chocolate bar with the objective of directly supporting workers, small-scale farmers and local communities, we are taking another important step in this direction. We are grateful for the support of our partners at Fairtrade, who help make innovative programs like Way to Go! possible.”

Neckarsulm, Germany-based Lidl operates about 11,200 stores in 32 countries, employing about 287,000 employees worldwide. In the United States, the Arlington, Virginia-based grocer has more than 110 stores in nine East Coast states.