Tony's Chocolonely admits harm to health and lobbies for sugar tax

Created to highlight and combat modern slavery in cocoa production, Tony's Chocolonely originated from a place of virtue. Now, looking inward, the brand is facing a demon of its own: sugar.

Chocolate bar scored into irregular pieces, each marked with the grams of sugar it contains


As it stated earlier this week: "while selling more cocoa beans is a win for our impact, eating too much of it is bad for your health," going on to explain that the average person in its native Netherlands consumes twice the recommended daily amount of sugar, and that 60% of packaged food and beverage sold in US grocery stores contains added sugar.

Tony's Chocolonely then lays out the steps it's going to take to battle overconsumption of sugar: proactively adapting information on chocolate wrappers, running campaigns to help customers make better choices (that is: eat less chocolate!), and pushing for a broad sugar tax in the Netherlands.

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Becoming a values-driven brand can't just be about picking one cause and zooming in on that. Sooner or later, consumers and employees will expect a more holistic approach to doing good. Sure, you're promoting STEM education in underserved communities, but how are you treating your workers? While shareholders and bottom lines might get in the way of being perfectly virtuous, consumers will embrace brands that keep taking steps in the right direction. And when you do slip up? Be open, honest and take full responsibility.

Related: Now a B Corp, eyewear brand Ace & Tate publishes a list of its not-so-great decisions

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