Albert Heijn Commits to Fully Traceable Chocolate

This past Thursday Ahold Delhaize owned Dutch grocer Albert Heijn announced that it had signed an agreement with Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut to make its private brand chocolate fully traceable beginning in 2019.

From March 2019, Albert Heijn’s private brand “Delicata” will be made from fully traceable cocoa, bought at a higher price from ethical chocolate company Tony’s Chocolonely’s partner cooperatives in Ghana and Ivory Coast. Barry Callebaut has vowed to eradicate child labor from its supply chain by 2025.

Barry Callebaut has been making chocolate for both Albert Heijn and Tony’s Chocolonely for years and will in the future use the separate sourcing chain it set up for Tony’s to make Albert Heijn’s chocolate.

Jeroen Hirdes

“The new Delicata chocolate will have the yellow-orange label with the open chain Tony’s uses to indicate to consumers it was sourced sustainably,” said Jeroen Hirdes, responsible for chocolate sourcing at Albert Heijn, which belongs to grocery group Ahold Delhaize.

Hirdes said Albert Heijn would pay Barry Callebaut a bit more for using traceable chocolate from Tony’s “open chain”. It will pass on part of the costs to consumers by increasing prices for its Delicata private brand that has annual sales of around $34 million.

” Together you make more impact. That is why I am very proud that Albert Heijn and Barry Callebaut are joining us on our roadmap to slave-free chocolate. A good example follows. From today, our impact is greater than just our own chocolate. A first step and pay attention, many more will follow. Together we make chocolate 100% slave free “, says Henk Jan Beltman, Chief Chocolate Officer Tony’s Chocolonely.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.