May 30, 2015
Tony's (Slave-free) Chocolonely
If asked to name a uniquely Dutch brand of chocolate, most people would say Droste. Although Droste is now in the hands of the German confectionary conglomerate, Hosta. A more modern, interesting, and certainly ubiquitous product sold throughout the Netherlands is the small but vibrant brand of Tony's Chocolonely - a youthful chocolate company with a noble social mission and a steadfast "bean to bar" philosophy.
The business was founded in 2005 by Dutch TV presenter Teun ("Tony") van de Keuken after a journalistic investigation into child slavery within the cocoa industry. (To publicize the problem Van de Keuken even went so far as to have himself criminally prosecuted as an accomplice to slavery for buying and consuming standard commercial chocolate.) Ten year's later Tony's Chocolonely's headquarters are located in Westerpark, Amsterdam, although their beans are sourced only from carefully selected and trusted small farms in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, where workers' conditions are carefully monitored and fairly paid. Hence every bar the company produces is marked "100% slavery free". And because few chocolate manufacturers make such guarantees, "Chocolonely" has also became part of the official name.
Eating chocolate bars may not ease guilty feelings about your diet, but knowing where the ingredients come from means you can at least enjoy them in clear conscience. Unfortunately slave labour still goes on in the global chocolate industry, however it is companies like this one who are sounding the alarm and raising awareness.