Lidl's New Private-Label Chocolate Bars Offer a Sweet Deal for Farmers

Way to Go is fair trade-certified and includes volume buying premium
Cocoa way to go bar Lidl
Photograph courtesy Lidl US

Lidl U.S. this month will begin stocking and selling a private-label fair trade-certified chocolate bar that mot only meets minimum pricing standards set by the organization but includes an innovative premium bonus to farmers based on the volume of cocoa purchased to manufacture the bars.

Known as Way to Go, Lidl’s new chocolate bar uses 100% traceable and sustainable fair trade cocoa sourced from the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative in Ghana, the retailer and Fairtrade America said in a joint release. Way to Go guarantees that farmers at the cooperative 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 will helps farmers increase income; diversify into new categories such as honey, rice or soap; and develop new farming techniques to increase yields and income over the long term, the parties said.

way to go chocolate bar
Photograph courtesy of Lidl

“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 of 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.”

According to Fairtrade America, Cocoa farmers are often living on less than $2 per 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 sold at Lidl U.S. are fair trade-certified.

Way to Go bars in milk and dark chocolate varieties are expected to reach Lidl store shelves by Dec. 16.

“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, EVP of purchasing for Lidl U.S. “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.”

Fairtrade America is the U.S. chapter of Fairtrade International, the global leader in fair trade certification. Fairtrade America said it betters the lives of farmers and workers in developing countries by inspiring businesses to implement ethical production practices and assisting shoppers in making informed purchasing decisions.

Lidl U.S., a division of Germany’s Schwarz Group based in Arlington, Va., operates more than 120 stores across nine East Coast states.


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