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How to buy ethical chocolate Easter eggs

Navigating labels isn't easy. Here's your guide to buying certified Easter eggs.

ethical chocolate easter eggs
Last updated: 15 March 2024


Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Australians love chocolate ­– in fact, according to Statistica we are set to munch our way through an average of 7.7kg of chocolate each in 2024, which amounts to an estimated spend of around $240 per person. The ABS also recently reported that we get more energy from chocolate than any other discretionary food.   

Easter is an especially busy time of year for chocolate retailers, as a tempting range of bunnies, eggs and chocolate-filled hampers come on the market, bringing with it a spike in chocolate sales. 

The good news is that in recent years there's been an increase in ... growth of certified chocolate products – including ethical Easter eggs

But behind the Easter packaging and colourful foil wrapping there's a dark side. Around 70% of the world's cocoa comes from West Africa. It's estimated that more than 1.56 million children and young people under the age of 18 work as labourers in cacao farming in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana alone. This number is estimated to have increased 15–20% during the pandemic.

Some of these children are trafficked; many are working under harmful labour conditions. And it's the cocoa they produce that ends up in the chocolate we eat.

The good news is that in recent years there's been an increase in consumer demand for ethical and sustainable production methods, which has resulted in growth of certified chocolate products – including ethical Easter eggs.

Which chocolate Easter eggs are more ethical?

Due to the uptick in consumer concern around climate change, sustainable agriculture and working conditions for small-scale farmers, more brands have been entering the ethical market, putting independent programs in place or independently certifying their chocolate products. 

As consumer awareness increases, some retailers such as Aldi, Coles and Woolworths have also introduced their own certified chocolate and cocoa offerings. 

What's considered ethical might be different for different people. For the purposes of this article, we're applying the term to those chocolate products that have been certified by one of the primary certification bodies available in Australia: Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, and Cocoa Horizons.

While certification may not be perfect, it is often a positive step towards sustainability, especially when included as a part of other initiatives.

Certified chocolate and Easter eggs

So as Easter rolls around again, which brands have certified chocolate options available?

  • Aldi's Dairy Fine, Choceur and Moser Roth chocolate ranges are Rainforest Alliance- or Fairtrade-certified.
  • Chocolatier Australia's chocolate eggs, available through Myer, specialty stores, some IGA and Foodland supermarkets, pharmacies and other chocolate suppliers are Rainforest Alliance-certified.
  • Coles also has a range of branded Fairtrade- and Rainforest Alliance/UTZ-certified solid block and Easter chocolates.
  • Darrell Lea sources 100% of its cocoa from sustainable sources through a partnership with Cocoa Horizons.
  • Ferrero has 100% independently certified fair-trade cocoa in their chocolate products, including from Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Cocoa Horizons.
  • Haigh's sources 80% of its cocoa from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms. 
  • Koko Black sustainably sources its cocoa through Cocoa Horizons. The brand's Easter eggs and chocolate can be found in IGA, Harris Farm Markets, Myer, David Jones, specialty stores and online. 
  • Loving Earth has organic, fair trade, and vegan chocolate and Easter products. They're available at Woolworths, through specialty grocers and online.
  • Pico chocolate blocks are Fairtrade-certified, vegan and organic. They're available at major supermarkets, IGA, Harris Farm Markets and online.
  • Whittakers' Ghanaian cacao beans are 100% Rainforest Alliance-certified – you'll find this logo on chocolate that contains these beans. Some blocks with more than 50% cocoa are also vegan (although may contain traces of dairy products from shared equipment), and Whittakers has recently added plant-based products to its range.
  • Woolworths' Homebrand chocolate blocks are certified by either Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance/UTZ.

Nestle, Mondelez (Cadbury), Mars, Hershey, and Lindt have their own programs in place to reduce harm in their cocoa supply chains, although this ethically and sustainably sourced cocoa may not be in all products.

Be Slavery Free chocolate scorecard

Advocacy coalition Be Slavery Free works with a number of Australian universities to produce an annual Chocolate Scorecard, which is released prior to Easter and can help inform your buying decisions. 

This list rates chocolate brands and Easter eggs against a number of categories, including deforestation and climate, child labour, traceability, and living income for workers. 

The scorecard captures 95% of the global chocolate industry, and from 2023 the scorecard has also ranked retailers such as Kmart, Costco and David Jones.

The scorecard and awards have helped encourage progress in the chocolate industry, with some brands vying to do better

Each year Be Slavery Free also announces winners of a Good Egg Award and Rotten Egg Award. These awards reflect innovation in sustainability practices, or lack thereof. 

The scorecard and awards have helped encourage progress in the chocolate industry, with some brands vying to do better. 

For example In 2020, Godiva received a Rotten Egg Award for "failing to take responsibility for the conditions with which its chocolates are made despite making huge profits". But the brand now states they are dedicated to "a sustainable and thriving cocoa industry where farmers prosper, communities are empowered, human rights are respected, and the environment is conserved" – although there are still improvements to be made. 

Nestle has also made progress in its practices, rising into the top 10 on the scorecard in 2023. 

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Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.