Raw materials for chocolate

The main raw material for chocolate is high-quality cocoa

We consider it important to produce our sweets from raw materials which have been produced taking into account the interests of people, animals and the environment. Therefore, we work closely with our raw material suppliers to address social and environmental challenges.

Cocoa is the main and most important ingredient for chocolate. Cocoa trees grow only in a narrow area on either side of the equator in countries whose inhabitants are facing difficult economic and social conditions on a daily basis. This is why Kalev considers it important to focus on sustainable and responsible cocoa farming, and in turn improving the working and living conditions of cocoa farmers.

In 2014, Kalev joined UTZ Certified, the world’s leading programme in supporting responsible and sustainable coffee, tea and cocoa farming. Since 2017, all of the cocoa required for making Kalev chocolate is certified, and all of our chocolate products have the right to use the UTZ Certified label. This label on the product indicates that the company supports responsible cocoa farming. By buying products with the UTZ label, you are also supporting that principle.

In November 2018, Kalev representatives, along with the Orkla Cocoa Task Force, visited cocoa farms in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to see first-hand the benefits farmers will get from joining the UTZ programme, how they reach their money and how they use it.

UTZ Certified is an international programme that was launched in the Netherlands in 2002: This programme protects the environment and farmers while helping to ensure the long-term sustainability of cocoa supplies. The objectives are safe and healthy working conditions, protecting the environment, the exclusion of child labour and following good agricultural practices.

Cocoa farmers who have joined the UTZ programme are already getting higher yields and are more skilled in managing their farm, while having improved work conditions and environmental protection. Representatives of the Orkla working group and Kalev saw on the spot that a training program for farmers to help increase the fertility of cocoa trees was extremely necessary. Farmers are taught simple methods to multiply the yield of cocoa trees. Higher yields ensure higher incomes and, through this, a better living for farmers’ families.

Asked by the representatives of the Kalev and Orkla working group about what changed their lives as a result of joining the UTZ program, locals most often answered that they had sent their children in school. Indeed, our people also noticed that there were many cheerful school children wearing uniforms and backpacks. Grants are used to build schools and purchase educational materials, and teachers are sent to the villages by the state.

Another important area addressed by the UTZ program is occupational safety. Farmers need guidance and support in this regard. Our people are already accustomed to adhering to workplace safety rules, but cocoa growers must be still reminded that, for example, breaking a cocoa fruit with a machete is not the only and best way to do the job. Hitting a wooden stick against the fruit gives the same result, but is much safer.

UTZ wants to ensure that all of the cocoa farmers’ children grow up in a safe and healthy environment. Specific requirements have been set for the protection and development of children, including schooling and playtime. Child labour is forbidden. At the training sessions, it is explained to farmers why it is important for children to go to school, and farmers are made aware of any health hazards associated with children working on the plantations and about keeping hazardous substances, tools, etc. out of the reach of children.

Thanks to the UTZ programme, an increasing amount of cocoa farmers and farm workers feel motivated, healthier and respected. They and their families have more opportunities for reaching their goals.