Bolstering its commitment to sustainable cocoa farming, Kraft Foods has launched the first mainstream chocolate products in Europe to carry the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal. The global food company also has committed to increase its current purchases of cocoa beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms ten-fold by the end of 2012, to 30,000 tons.
Beginning in France and Belgium, Kraft’s Cote d’Or premium dark chocolate will now contain cocoa from farms that meet the sustainability standard of the Rainforest Alliance Certified program. Over the coming months, the certified Cote d’Or range will be rolled out to consumers in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, the Netherlands, Canada and the United States. It will also be made available to Sweden, Denmark and Finland under the Marabou brand, and the Suchard brand in Austria and Switzerland.
Since 2005, Kraft Foods has been working with the Rainforest Alliance, together with leading development organizations in Germany and the U.S. — Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) — as well as with cocoa trader, Armajaro, to support sustainable cocoa production in the Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa.
The public-private partnership, known as the “Market-Oriented Promotion of Sustainable Certified Cocoa Production” project, has enabled six Ivorian cooperatives, representing over 2,000 farmers in the Daloa/Issia and Abengourou areas, to earn the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal. As a result, the last crop year improved yields and made significant productivity gains, in some cases above 50 percent, according to the project. The incidence of cocoa ‘black pod’ disease was also reduced by one third and farmer incomes have improved.
The commitment also builds on Kraft Food’s long-standing collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance to develop sustainable coffee for use in mainstream brands.