The UK’s largest distributor of personalised chocolates, Whitakers Chocolates, has extended its offering with newly-awarded certification to manufacture chocolate approved by the Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade and sustainable farming programme, UTZ .
The North Yorkshire-based confectionery supplier has worked closely with suppliers to gain the coveted accreditation making it one of just a few UTZ, Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade approved chocolate manufacturers in the UK.
The move allows Whitakers Chocolates to compete in a market which is becoming increasingly focused on meeting the ethical demands of the chocolate industry and its end-users.
Sales manager for Whitakers Chocolates, Ian Webster, said: “This is an incredibly important milestone for the company. We identified the rising demand for ethically produced chocolate some time ago and we have worked hard to meet the stringent requirements set.
“We can now provide a more extensive range for our multiple retailer customers specifically for their branded products as well as under the Whitakers brand. We’re also developing our export business and these accreditations will broaden our opportunities in international markets.”
Rainforest Alliance uses environmental regulations to minimise the impact of farming on the natural world, while Fairtrade works towards ending the exploitation of cocoa farms by ensuring a fair minimum buying price.
UTZ is the largest programme for sustainable farming of coffee and cocoa in the world and educates farmers on improving crop yield, good farm management and using more efficient farming techniques and practices.
Ian added: “Chocolate is undoubtedly one of the world’s favourite foods and we’re proud to be part of the movement ensuring cocoa farming remains sustainable and the people involved are rewarded fairly for their produce.”
From its Skipton headquarters, Whitakers Chocolates supplies 10 million chocolates a week to hotels, restaurants and retailers across the world.