Is Choc Affair Chocolate Fairtrade?

A field of cocoa bean trees

This is a good question and one which is part of a bigger topic which we get asked occasionally. I think it helps to begin with the definition of what is Fair trade, and what is Fairtrade, noting the difference between the two terms – one is a singular word, and the other, two words.

This often causes confusion, as one is a term used to describe a business and trading practice, and the other is the registered name of an organisation and international movement for change. 

  1. Fair trade according to the Oxford dictionary;
    Noun [uncountable] The set of business practices that support producers in developing countries by doing things like paying fair prices and making sure that workers have good working conditions and fair pay.
  2. Fairtrade is a global movement with a strong and active presence in the UK, represented by the Fairtrade Foundation. Fairtrade is a movement for change that works directly with businesses, consumers and campaigners to make trade deliver for farmers and workers.

The international Fairtrade system (which the Fairtrade Foundation is a part of) represents the world’s largest and most recognised fair trade system – a global organisation working to secure a better deal for farmers and workers.

The Fairtrade Foundation here in the UK, is an independent non-profit organisation that focuses on four key areas of work in the UK:

  • license the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark in the UK
  • help to grow demand for Fairtrade products and empower producers to sell to traders and retailers
  • find new ways of working with our partners to support producer organisations and their networks
  • raise public awareness of the need for Fairtrade and the significant role of Fairtrade in making trade fair


A man wearing a Choc Affair shirt placing chocolate on racks

So, what about our chocolate here at Choc Affair? 

When I set out on this journey over 16 years ago, I began by using Fairtrade (one word, referring to the organisation the Fairtrade Foundation) registered chocolate to make our hot chocolate stirrer, which allowed me to use the recognisable logo of the Fairtrade foundation on our packaging.

The use of the logo was allowed with the purchase of a licence, at a cost to us, in addition to the higher cost per kilo of the chocolate, we were buying. The chocolate company who processed the cocoa beans were paying the FTF to register the chocolate as fairtrade, and we in turn, then paid to use the recognised logo on our packaging once we’d made the chocolate into the hot chocolate stirrer. 

Behind the scenes, the Fairtrade foundation work in country, to educate the producers, ensuring systems are followed, and that the values of the fairtrade model are adhered to wherever possible, paying a premium above market value for the cocoa or produce. All in all, a highly effective model and one which for many years has given people the confidence to be sure that the product they are buying has gone through a process which has been acknowledged as fair trade and one which has a recognisable stamp of authority in its logo. 

Why don’t you use the fairtrade logo any more?

Why did we move away from this, you may wonder? In a nutshell, because we wanted to know more about the people growing our cocoa, to try understand the challenges they face, and to know how we can really begin to make a difference to their lives, rather than just pay a fee to apply a logo to our chocolate wrappers. We wanted to get to know and see the heart of those incredible people at the start of where our cocoa is grown.

5 cocoa bean farmers

In 2014 I headed out to Colombia to see behind the scenes of Luker, a family run chocolate company, who were processing the cocoa beans into the chocolate we know and enjoy, and quite frankly it was inspirational. I witnessed first-hand, this large company, operating in a small family run style, ensuring the well-being of their employees, and recognising the value of the work at the start of the growing process, and the farmers – investing tirelessly into training, to ensure the farmers can increase their harvests. Their model, at their very core is fair trade, and the company has been built on these strong values. It was the vision of their founder, to begin a company who put its people at the centre of its purpose, with a shared vision of a sustainable farming model, where people are paid fairly for the work they do. 

Luker chocolate trades directly with the farmers ensuring they are fairly paid for their crops, and since we’ve worked with them, we’ve chosen to pay an additional 5% premium for each kilo of chocolate we buy, to be invested in the farmers communities, as well as for the reforestation of the Colombian dry forests. 

So, is Choc Affair Chocolate Fair trade? 

Fair trade: Noun [uncountable] The set of business practices that support producers in developing countries by doing things like paying fair prices and making sure that workers have good working conditions and fair pay.

I would say with a resounding YES, our chocolate is fair trade. This year, we’ve been contributing to a new project based in an area of Colombia which is more difficult to access due to the illegal activities around drugs, but an area which needs support for the young people there who are facing great challenges. Chocokids is about teaching a group of 80 young people all about the value of cocoa, and how to be responsible for looking after the environment. You can read more about it here and see our updates on our social media pages. This is why we appreciate every order you place with us, because of your support, we can in turn support these great projects, ensuring that future generations continue to grow and nurture cocoa.