2 Jul 2021

Fairtrade launches global campaign to unwrap a fairer future for cocoa farmers

The Fairtrade “Bitter Sweet” global campaign encourages consumers around the world to recognize the connection between Fairtrade and better incomes for cocoa farmers in West Africa.

BONN - July 2, 2021 - Fairtrade yesterday unveiled a new celebrity-backed global campaign, named Bitter Sweet, that will feature a stop-motion animation, “Unwrap a Fairer Future,” that literally unwraps the bitter truth behind unethical cocoa sourcing practices by some major chocolate manufacturers. From July 1-7, 2021, this global campaign will reach people in 22 countries leading up to the film’s global debut across Fairtrade’s owned social channels on World Chocolate Day, July 7, 2021.

‘‘Unwrap a Fairer Future” is a specially commissioned film designed to reveal to consumers how their simple everyday shopping choices – such as choosing Fairtrade chocolate – can change the lives and futures of cocoa farmers and their communities. Produced by Fairtrade in collaboration with Niels Hoebers, a stop-motion animation film tells the story of two bespoke bars of chocolate. At first glance, both look good enough to eat, but once the wrapper is unpeeled, the bars tell two very different stories. Contrasting scenes are depicted in relief on the surfaces of the bars: one is stamped with bitter truths about trade injustice, while the other is imprinted with the sweet benefits of Fairtrade cocoa.

Viewers watching the animation on the bitter bar will be transported to the cocoa lands of West Africa, where uncertified cocoa farmers who are unable to grow their crop on Fairtrade terms face injustice and low prices, leading to poverty and deforestation that holds communities back. The film also shows a sweeter side: Fairtrade-certified cocoa farmers who benefit from rigorous independent standards, receive support to adapt their farming practices to meet those standards, and earn fair prices for their cocoa as a result.

“We’re putting the important truth in people’s minds, making the bitter cost of each non-Fairtrade chocolate bar instantly apparent,” said Nilufar Verjee, Fairtrade’s director of public engagement and global cocoa campaign lead. “This is a captivating and highly shareable way to discover why cocoa farmers who grow the cocoa in our favourite chocolate bars deserve better incomes.”

The Bitter Sweet campaign began yesterday with cocoa farmers sharing their own personal experiences. These messages are being followed by various Fairtrade global regions sharing information on social media channels about Fairtrade's impact, where to buy Fairtrade chocolate and how consumers can help by sharing with a friend. The campaign will culminate with the debut of the “Bitter Sweet” film on World Chocolate Day, July 7, 2021.

The Bittersweet Truth about Cocoa

Despite being a beloved sweet treat all over the world, the focus of millions of celebration cakes, desserts and sweet treats, many shoppers are in the dark about the hidden truths beneath chocolate’s seductive packaging. According to Fairtrade, chocolate as we know it is facing a difficult future and could become a rare, luxurious treat.

The bitter truth is that low cocoa prices, the continuing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and rising global temperatures mean that farmers don’t have the resources to withstand the shocks they face. This undermines their ongoing efforts to escape poverty and has serious consequences for the long term supply of chocolate.

The price of cocoa has slumped again this season due to weakened consumer demand for chocolate through the pandemic, causing grave concern amongst farmers, with some producers making less than $1 a day on average. With chronically low incomes they are living in poverty and are unable to pay for essentials like food, send their children to school or pay for healthcare if they fall sick.

Consumer Demand Growing For Fairtrade Chocolate

Fairtrade hopes consumers will continue to choose to buy Fairtrade, so that farmers and workers in low-income countries get a sweeter deal for their produce, rather than a bitter one. New Global consumer research by Fairtrade and independent research and strategy consultancy, Globescan (2021), shows that the majority of people expect companies they buy their chocolate from to source responsibility, offer transparency and protect the environment. In fact, 57% of people are willing to pay more for products and brands that work to improve society and the environment. Furthermore, in the past year, over half of consumers say they have changed their purchase choices to make a difference on an economic, environmental, social, or political issue.

Adjoa Andoh, the actress known most recently for her role on “Bridgerton” and a long-time Fairtrade advocate said: “Every bar of chocolate that you buy, every cocoa bean, means decent healthcare, education, a collective voice all the way through the supply chain. So today, if you can make that choice, choose Fairtrade. Make the choice for hope, a future and joy, through the delicious medium of chocolate. Happy Fairtrade World Chocolate Day!”

The Sweet Possibilities

Farmers who are able to sell their cocoa on Fairtrade terms have more money in their pockets, to tackle the ravages of poverty, social injustice and climate change. The safety net of the Fairtrade Minimum Price kicks in when prices drop, enabling cocoa farmers to cover the cost of production, while the Fairtrade Premium – an additional payment for every tonne of beans sold on Fairtrade terms – is the highest non-negotiable premium of any major standard. Farmers democratically decide for themselves how to invest their Premium, allowing them to plan for the future. At the same time, Fairtrade’s West African Cocoa Program trains farmers in best practice growing techniques.

For campaign assets (advance preview of video, behind the scenes edit, campaign images and more), please contact martine.parry@fairtrade.org.uk Tel: +44 (0)7886 301486.

To find out more about Fairtrade’s work on cocoa, visit https://www.fairtrade.net/product/cocoa.


Media contact: martine.parry@fairtrade.org.uk | +44 (0)7886 301486.

About Fairtrade

Fairtrade changes the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions, and a fairer deal for farmers and workers in developing countries.

Fairtrade International is an independent non-profit organization representing 1.7 million small-scale farmers and workers worldwide. It owns the FAIRTRADE Mark, a registered trademark of Fairtrade that appears on more than 30,000 products. Beyond certification, Fairtrade International and its member organizations empower producers, partner with businesses, engage consumers, and advocate for a fair and sustainable future. Find out more at http://www.fairtrade.net.