In the course of the year, 80 percent of the products of the domestic confectionery manufacturer Manner will carry the Fairtrade quality seal. From this year on, the cocoa for all sliced products will be sourced from Fairtrade. This means that Manner pays a set minimum price and a Fairtrade premium for social projects in the growing countries.
Manner’s chocolate bananas have been made with Fairtrade cocoa since 2012, and Mozart balls since 2015. For the rest of the raw materials, they rely on regional proximity, says Manner. Every year around 50,000 tons of confectionery are produced at the locations in Vienna and Wolkersdorf. Around 60 percent of this is exported. In 2019, Manner, which is listed, posted sales of 222.1 million euros. How the Corona year has affected sales will be presented at the end of April.
With a share of 30 percent, cocoa is Manner’s most important raw material. “We spend around 20 million euros a year on cocoa. The switch to Fairtrade makes production a million euros more expensive,” says Karin Steinhart von Manner.
Fairtrade as an image factor
Fairtrade has meanwhile become a good sales argument and a question of image. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have noticed an increased interest among customers in where the raw materials come from and how they are produced,” says Steinhart. At Fairtrade Austria we are happy about the growth. This makes the company the largest buyer of Fairtrage cocoa in Austria.
In the past few years, interest in organic, sustainable and fair trade goods has increased significantly. According to the organization, sales of Fairtrade products rose by 5.4 percent to 351 million euros in 2019. “As a result, the equivalent of $ 53.7 million flows as direct income to the producers, ie to the smallholders and members of the cooperative,” explains Bernhard Moser of Fairtrade.
Income has risen continuously in recent years; from 100 million in 2011 to 351 million euros most recently. Above all, bananas, cane sugar, coffee, juices, cotton, roses and cocoa are traded with the Fairtrade seal of approval. In the latter case, Fairtrade accounts for 10 percent of the products traded in Austria. In Germany it is now 17 percent and in Switzerland 12 percent.
A good 84 percent of the Fairtrade cocoa traded comes from Ghana and the Ivory Coast. The seal of approval ensures that cocoa farmers receive a set minimum price – currently it is $ 400 per tonne – and that no exploitation or child labor is used and that environmental standards, for example pesticides, are complied with. Companies that use the logo on their products are checked once a year as part of an audit. Critics, however, accuse the producers of Fairtrade raw materials being mixed during processing with other products that were not purchased sustainably and fairly.