Fairtrade chocolate production comes to the Diocese

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THE Fairtrade chocolate used in the 2016 Real Easter Egg is being produced in Banbury this year as a result of increasing demand.

Photographs of the Real Easter Eggs with Bishop Collin at Barry Callebaut factory in Banbury

Bishop Colin tests his chocolate making skills with Keiran Shaw, a technical advisor at the Barry Callebaut factory in Banbury. Photo: John Cairns

More than a million Real Easter Eggs have been sold in the last five years and in a recent public poll The Real Easter Egg was voted the UK’s favourite Fairtrade Easter Egg. This popularity means that such a large volume of chocolate is now needed that production has moved to the Barry Callebaut factory in Oxfordshire. The Real Easter Egg was launched in 2010 following a trial involving churches in the Oxford Diocese. It was UK’s first Fairtrade egg to include a copy of the Easter story in the box and is still the only charity egg. The 2016 Easter story booklet, which opens out into a cross shape, has been produced in partnership with the Oxfordshire based Lion Hudson publishers.

By Easter 2016 The Meaningful Chocolate Company, which makes the egg, expects to have given away more than £200,000 to charitable causes from its sales.It has seen sales of Fairtrade chocolate increase which means a bigger Fairtrade Premium is paid to farmers who grow the sugar and Cacao. (Cocoa and chocolate are made from Cacao beans.)The cash from the Fairtrade premium can be used to invest in their communities, buying everything from schoolbooks to solar panels and providing fresh water supplies.

David Marshall, CEO of The Meaningful Chocolate Company, said: “The move to Banbury means the Real Easter Egg is now a fully UK manufactured product. We have also taken the opportunity to improve our blend of chocolate so it is better than ever. Our customers include ethical retailer Traidcraft and hundreds of independent retailers. We sell direct to thousands of customers, churches and schools and our eggs are also stocked at Tesco, Morrisons and Waitrose.”
The Acting Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, said: “The Real Easter Egg began its public life in 2009 encouraged by individuals, churches and schools in the Oxford Diocese. So it is fitting that sales are now sufficient to warrant Fairtrade chocolate being moved to Banbury, which is in this Diocese. I pray for all those involved, the workforce, the creative team behind the idea and those who will read the Easter story for the first time this Easter and discover the Good News of hope and new life.”

Order your Real Easter Eggs  here or call 0845 122 2882.