Divine chocolate continues 25th anniversary celebrations with birthday bar

Celebrations for ethically-founded confectionery brand, Divine’s, 25th anniversary are set to include a special birthday bar launch being showcased during National Chocolate Week (16-22 October), writes Neill Barston.

As Confectionery Production previously covered, the brand also marked its quarter of a century milestone at this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago, with a strong presence at the event.

According to the team behind the brand, retaining its status as being part-owned by farmers has helped ensure that the business has retained its strong focus on ensuring a fair deal throughout the entire supply chain.

Its birthday bar will feature buttery biscuit pieces, covered in Divine’s signature smooth milk chocolate. The Birthday Bar packaging will feature the names of 25 different farmers, while an on-pack QR code will link to a page telling their stories.

National Chocolate Week will see double celebrations for Divine this year as it not only marks a crucial week in the chocolate calendar, but also celebrates its 25th birthday. In recognition of its milestone age, Divine is launching a limited-edition Birthday Bar, featuring buttery biscuit pieces, coated in its signature silky smooth milk chocolate.

The Birthday Bar will be an important reminder of Divine’s commitment to do things differently in the chocolate industry as the world’s only farmer-owned Fairtrade chocolate maker – with the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative of farmers owning 20% of the business.

Furthermore, its packaging will feature 25 different names of the farmers who have played an integral role in Divine’s development – both in terms of producing its chocolate, but also in the direction of the company as co-owners. An on-pack QR code will link through to a page sharing stories of each of the farmers and their families. As part of the project to create the packaging of the bar, Divine spoke to the 25 farmers featured, to find out more about their experiences of cocoa farming – and their hopes and worries about the future.

Many of the farmers have benefited from literacy programmes that Divine has supported, created to upskill women, including farmer Comfort Opoku who said; “I am very grateful for all Divine Chocolate consumers for helping me to partake in the adult literacy class as now I can read and write.” 20% of the farmers interviewed had prioritised university education for their families with the earnings from their cocoa farms and being a part of the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative.

Another farmer, Mercy Zaah, also stressed the value of being able to engaged with the business: ““Through the past 25 years of cocoa farming I have been able to educate my five children up to university level – this has really made me proud as a parent.”

As Divine observed, other farmers were able to set up businesses selling soap, pastries, and detergent alongside their cocoa farms, using the skills learnt through their involvement with Kuapa Kokoo, meaning they were able to provide more for themselves and their families. These are just some examples of the ways in which Divine has worked to fight exploitation in the chocolate industry and improve the lives of cocoa farmers and their families since it created its first bar of chocolate in 1998.

Now celebrating 25 years, Divine is encouraging chocolate-lovers across the country to join the Divine Revolution this National Chocolate Week and commit to doing things differently with the launch of its Birthday Bar. Divine’s co-operative of 100,000 members receive a share of the distributable profits and also have representation on the board, meaning that each bar purchased contributes to improving the lives of cocoa farmers and their families. Going beyond this, Divine also runs community initiatives such as upskilling women and improving labour rights in the industry.

Sophie Loveday-Davies, Group Marketing Director at Divine, enthused: “We’re incredibly proud to be celebrating 25 years of doing things differently in the cocoa industry. In launching our Birthday Bar, we hope not only to delight our Divine fans with this limited-edition release, but also invite them to celebrate the producers and their families who are behind their favourite bar of chocolate.

“Our co-operative of over 100,000 farmers really is the heart of our brand, so our 25th anniversary celebrations are a key milestone for reflecting on their stories, and the unique contribution they make in creating our award-winning chocolate”.


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