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November 29, 2005
|Henk Jan Beltman|
Teun van de Keuken
Tony's Chocolonely is a Dutch confectionery company founded in 2005 which produces and sells chocolate. In 2018, the company's market share in the Netherlands was 18 percent, making it one of the country's largest chocolate manufacturers.
In 2002, Dutch television producer and journalist Teun van de Keuken began producing programs about the abuses within the cocoa industry on his show Keuringsdienst van Waarde after discovering that almost none of the chocolate produced at the time was slave-free. Along with this, he also requested to be prosecuted for knowingly purchasing an illegally manufactured product, although the prosecutors chose not to do so.
After three years of unsuccessful attempts to change the industry through investigative efforts, van de Keuken decided to start producing chocolate bars himself. The product quickly became a success, selling 20 thousand bars in a span of two days.
In 2007, after the company was sued by a Dutch importer of Swiss chocolates, a court in Amsterdam ruled that there was sufficient evidence that the company's products were manufactured without the help of slaves. In the same year, the Dutch Media Authority (Comissariaat voor de Media) found that the excessive advertising Tony's Chocolonely received in seven shows of Keuringsdienst van Waarde generated the company "more than normal profits," and fined the broadcaster of the programmes 20 thousand euros.
When a hazelnut milk chocolate bar was added to the lineup in 2010, Dutch TV show Een Vandaag reported that 9-year-old children participated in the Turkish hazelnut harvest. The company responded by immediately switching to a local hazelnut supplier from the Netherlands. The same year, the market-share of the brand exceeded 4.5 percent in the Netherlands.
In 2011, Henk Jan Beltman became a majority shareholder and moved the company to a new location near Westergasfabriek.
Tony's cocoa mass has been fully traceable since 2013, and the cocoa butter since 2016.
With production steadily increasing, the company decided in 2015 to expand their business to the United States, opening their first international office in Portland, Oregon.
By the end of 2018, in addition to its home country of The Netherlands, Tony's Chocolonely was also on sale in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden, and the United States. In the Netherlands its market share was 19% in 2018, with which it surpassed multinationals Verkade, Mars and Nestlé.
In 2021, the company received backlash after the American organisation Slave Free Chocolate removed Tony's from their list of ethical chocolate companies. While there were no confirmed instances of child labor within the supply chain of Tony's, their collaboration with another chocolate manufacturer, Barry Callebaut resulted in the removal due to issues of child labor within the supply chain of Barry Callebaut's own products.
The number of available bar flavors varies by country and distribution channel. For example, over a dozen flavors are available in the Netherlands. The chocolate bars are unevenly divided, symbolizing the inequal distribution of incomes in the chocolate industry.
In the United States, the available flavors of the chocolate bars are (in order of introduction):
- Milk chocolate 32%
- Extra dark chocolate 70%
- Milk caramel sea salt 32%
- Dark almond sea salt 51%
- Dark milk pretzel toffee 42%
- Dark pecan coconut 51%
- Milk hazelnut 32%
- Milk honey almond nougat 32%
- White raspberry popping candy 28%
While types of products vary in a similar fashion to flavor count, most regions have:
- Large bars (180 grams)
- Small bars (50 grams)
- Tiny Tony's (9 grams)
- Seasonal items (including holiday bars and chocolate Easter eggs)
Items unavailable outside of Europe include:
- Personalized chocolate bars
- Chocolate milk
- Chocolate letters
The company introduces three new chocolate bar flavors each year between October and December. The most popular of the three limited editions is then added to the exclusive collection, and sometimes the permanent collection. The company also produces limited edition 'relay' bars for the supermarket chain Albert Heijn, with exclusive flavors corresponding to winter and summer tastes. These flavors rotate every six months. Some bars have entered the permanent collection from there.
- In 2020, the company was named the most sustainable brand in the Netherlands for the third time by the Sustainable Brand Index. However, this award does not measure brands' actual sustainability, rather, it is based on consumers' perceptions of it.
- The company was ranked third on the 2022 Chocolate Scorecard which rates chocolate companies according to their human rights and environmental credentials: traceability and transparency, living income for cocoa farmers, child labour (absence of), deforestation & climate, agroforestry and agrochemical management. (https://www.chocolatescorecard.com/)
- Appiah, Lidz-Ama (2 June 2017). "Slave-free chocolate: a not-so-guilty pleasure". CNN. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
- Zeven, Martijn (7 February 2020). "Amai! Belgische biermiljardairs nemen hap uit Tony's Chocolonely" [Oh my! Belgian beer billionaires take a bite out of Tony's Chocolonely]. Quote (in Dutch). Retrieved 31 March 2021.
- "Tony and the chocolate factory". KRO-NCRV (in Dutch). 5 July 2005. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
- Hordijk, Kevin (7 December 2005). "Teun van de Keuken vecht als Nederlandse Willy Wonka tegen de choco-kinderslavernij" [Teun van de Keuken fights as Dutch Willy Wonka against chocolate child slavery]. Trouw (in Dutch). Retrieved 31 March 2021.
- "Tony's Chocolonely mag zich slaafvrij noemen" [Tony's Chocolonely can call itself slave-free]. Trouw (in Dutch). 6 February 2007. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
- Uitspraak Rechtbank Amsterdam, 6 February 2007, ECLI:NL:RBAMS:2007:AZ7870 (Dutch)
- Geelen, Jean-Pierre (14 June 2007). "Tony Chocolonely hangt boete boven het hoofd". Volkskrant (in Dutch). Retrieved 31 March 2021.
- "How Feasible Is Fair Trade?" ["Hoe haalbaar is Fair Trade?]. EenVandaag (in Dutch). 2010-10-28.
- Schutten, Henk (2014-12-24). "Bij Tony Chocolonely draait het niet alleen om winst maken" [Tony Chocolonely is not all about making a profit]. Het Parool (in Dutch).
- "Duurzame chocolade met volledig traceerbare cacaoboter" [Sustainable chocolate with fully traceable cocoa butter]. Duurzaam Ondernemen (in Dutch). 19 July 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
- "we doen 't saaaaamen". TonysChocolonely.com. Retrieved 7 January 2019. (Dutch)
- "Hoe duurzaam is Tony's Chocolonely?" [How sustainable is Tony's Chocolonely?]. Financieel Management. 29 November 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2018.)
- Rushe, Elizabeth (2019-01-19). "Tony's Chocolonely Brings Slave Free Chocolate Mission To UK Supermarkets Sainsbury's Whole Foods". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
- Hughes, Edel (26 November 2019). "Chocolate company call on Irish people to help make industry 100% slave-free". Irish Mirror.
- Veeger, Maarten (15 February 2021). "Tony's Chocolonely uit lijst slaafvrije chocolademakers" [Tony's Chocolonely cut from the list of slave-free chocolate makers]. RTL Nieuws (in Dutch). Retrieved 31 March 2021.
- "Tony's Chocoshop". Tony's Chocolonely (in Dutch). Retrieved 2019-07-17.
- "Tony's Chocolonely repen zijn expres ongelijk verdeeld" [Tony's Chocolonely bars are deliberately unevenly divided]. Culy.nl. 2012-05-17. Retrieved 2020-02-21.
- "Tony's Chocolonely". Tony's Chocolonely. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
- "chocoshop". TonysChocolonely.com. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
- "Tony's Chocolonely named most sustainable Dutch brand for third time". iamsterdam.com. 25 May 2020. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
- "Methodology". Sustainable Brands Index. Retrieved 3 April 2021.
- Media related to Tony's Chocolonely at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website
- Walt, Vivienne (11 April 2021). "Tony's Chocolonely tries to prove that ethical chocolate and sweet profits can co-exist". Fortune. Retrieved 28 December 2021.