Launched under the Way To Go! brand, the bars are made with cocoa sourced from the Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana. Available starting Dec. 16, they come in milk and dark chocolate varieties.
Fairtrade America says Way To Go! guarantees that the cooperative’s farmers receive at least the Fairtrade Minimum Price for cocoa and the Fairtrade Premium, an extra sum of money for farmers to invest in their farms and communities.
Additionally, Lidl has partnered with Fairtrade to pay an innovative second premium for every metric ton of cocoa purchased for the Way To Go! bars. Lidl's premium helps farmers increase income, diversify into new categories like honey, rice or soap, and develop new farming techniques to increase yields and income over the long term.
Cocoa farmers in West Africa, where two-thirds of the world's supply is sourced, have long struggled with extreme poverty and child labor abuses. Living income – the amount needed for a worker to meet their basic needs – is a critical step in fighting and eventually eradicating these issues.
"We are thrilled to see Lidl grow its presence in the U.S. and demonstrate it is possible to produce and sell affordable, sustainable chocolate, prioritizing human rights as well as the bottom line," said Peg Willingham, executive director, Fairtrade America. "If more retailers followed in Lidl's footsteps by Fairtrade certifying their private-label chocolate as well as by taking the extra step towards paying cocoa producers a living income, it would help eradicate systemic poverty in the cocoa industry, which contributes to child labor practices, deforestation and more. It is our hope that Lidl's innovation spurs others to move toward a fair and ethical supply chain when sourcing cocoa."
Cocoa farmers are often living on less than $2/day, facing the challenges of the effects of climate change and living with limited infrastructure. Fairtrade International's rigorous standards and auditing process ensure cocoa farmers receive fair incomes and working conditions. Lidl is a longtime partner of Fairtrade, and all private-label chocolate bars Lidl US sells are Fairtrade certified.
"Lidl is committed to investing in products and business models that deliver greater returns to people working in the supply chain, and this is especially important in the cocoa industry," said Stefan Schwarz, executive v.p. of purchasing, Lidl US. "By designing and launching the first private-label chocolate bar with the objective of directly supporting workers, small-scale farmers and local communities, we are taking another important step in this direction. We are grateful for the support of our partners at Fairtrade, who help make innovative programs like Way To Go! possible."