Tesco finds an appetite for 100% sustainably sourced cocoa

Supermarket giant Tesco has revealed that it will acquire all cocoa used for its own label chocolate, biscuits, cakes, deserts and cereal products sold in the UK from Rainforest Alliance Certified sources by the end of 2018.

As part of Tesco’s collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance, the supermarket will launch and support a variety of cocoa-growing communities in an effort to boost farmer income, improve soil quality and conserve the surrounding wildlife.

Tesco’s chief product officer Jason Tarry said: “Our customers want to be reassured that we treat farmers and growers well and that the foods they buy are sourced responsibly. Our collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance will help to support cocoa farmers improve their livelihoods and ensure we are offering great sustainable and affordable products.

“This is just one of a number of initiatives which will help us build trusted partnerships with our suppliers and enable us to serve shoppers a little better every day.”

The coca used in Tesco products will be sourced through a variety of sustainability programmes run by the Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, Cocoa Horizons and Fairtrade.

Each of the products containing the sustainably-sourced coca will be easily recognisable to consumers, as packaging will include the well-known frog seal label.

The Rainforest Alliance’s president Nigel Sizer said: “We are delighted Tesco has made such a deep commitment to sourcing Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa. Tesco’s commitment will have a significant impact on improving the social, economic, and environmental well-being of cocoa farming communities.”

Tesco has previously unveiled numerous initiatives aimed at sourcing responsibly from its suppliers. The supermarket chain has already secured “high value contracts” for British potato growers, while fresh milk, cheese and lamb products have all been subjected to sustainable sourcing guarantees. To date, the retailer also offers 80 Marine Stewardship Council-certified products to customers.

Cocoa commitments

Tesco is the latest high-profile corporation to announce a sustainable sourcing commitment. Supermarket Aldi UK recently pledged to source its entire UK range of bananas from either Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance-certified farms before the end of 2016.

Nestlé Professional UK & Ireland became the first major confectionary company in the hospitality and foodservice sector to source 100% certified sustainable cocoa for its chocolate and biscuits, late last year.

The world’s largest chocolate company, Mondelez International, has ensured that more than 76,000 farmers have seen a significant increase in their income and cocoa yield as result of a global sustainable sourcing programme.

Last year, Mars and Danone announced their intentions to invest €50m each into the Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming Scheme aimed at increasing the productivity of smallholder farmers to prioritise key crops including cocoa, sugar and palm oil across 40 projects worldwide.

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Matt Mace

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