HomeLifestyleFood & RecipesTony’s Chocolonely apologises for missing chocolate in advent calendar

Tony’s Chocolonely apologises for missing chocolate in advent calendar

Tony’s Chocolonely has been forced to apologise after outraged customers complained about a missing chocolate in its advent calendar.

The Dutch confectionary company, which is known for its ethically-produced chocolate, purposefully did not include a daily treat behind the eighth window in its calendar, in a bid to draw attention to inequality in the chocolate industry.

However, many customers criticised the chocolatier for the “disappointing” surprise, with some people saying the lack of chocolate that day left their children “close to tears”.

Tony’s said its advent calendar was designed with the same unequal distribution of chocolate as its bars, which highlights the use of slavery in the chocolate industry.

In a social media post on 8 December, when the empty window was discovered, it said: “In Ghana and the Ivory Coast, at least 1.56 million children work under illegal conditions because the price being paid for cocoa is too low. Worst still, at least 30,000 adults and children are forced to work. We don’t think that’s okay.”

Following a large volume of complaints, the company said it accepted that the stunt was “inappropriate and has caused confusion and disappointment”.

In a further statement, it added: “We hoped this would act as a conversation starter between us and our choco fans on email/social media about our mission, but did not anticipate that it might create extra work for our valued retail partners.”

Tony’s also acknowledged that it “failed to consider the difficulties empty windows can cause for our neurodivergent children and adults”.

“We would like to welcome all feedback on how to make our products more accommodating for neurodivergent people going forward as it was not our intention to cause this issue.”

One parent said the empty calendar window was a “devastating blow”, adding: “My children are also confused, my youngest close to tears. I don’t think this was a great teachable moment.”

Another person wrote on Twitter: “There’s nothing more Chocolonely than opening your advent calendar to find an empty hole.”

“Please remember your audience, a face of disappointment from my child this morning,” said a third. “He didn’t understand why to start with… His sister shared her advent choc. An important cause just not in an advent calendar.”

Some people came to Tony’s defence and praised the company for using the calendar to bring attention to inequality within the industry.

One person said: “I have sympathy for the parents of little ones, but I’m a bit stunned by the negative reaction of some of the adults! Well played Chocolonely, well played, definitely the most memorable advent calendar door I’ve ever opened.”

Another said: “I’m amazed at some of the responses. 1.56 million children working in illegal conditions but the complaints are about a child missing one day’s chocolate from an advent calendar. Shambles! Never change Tony!”

Although customers found no chocolate on the eight day of the calendar, they found two chocolates on day nine and will find another two on day 24 to make up for the absent treat.

“You’re even getting 25 chocolates in the calendar for 24 days,” confirmed Tony’s in a social media post. “That’s the benefit of an unequally divided calendar.”

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