Mars is switching its Maltesers brand to Fairtrade chocolate from next year.

The move will boost total sales of Fairtrade in the UK by around 10%, with Mars expecting to pay cocoa farmers another £900,000 a year on top of current prices.

Maltesers is the UK’s third largest confectionery brand, behind Cadbury Dairy Milk and Mars stablemate Galaxy. It generated sales of £143m last year.

“I am very excited that Mars in the UK is at the forefront of this global agreement, as we switch Maltesers in 2012 which also marks the 75th anniversary of this much-loved product.

“Mars is looking to lead the way in enabling certification for the whole cocoa sector,” said Mars UK president Fiona Dawson. “This agreement with Fairtrade is a significant step in the drive for cocoa sustainability worldwide.”

Harriet Lamb of the Fairtrade Foundation added: “This agreement means that from next year every Maltesers ball we enjoy will deliver a little bit of extra magic, supporting the farmers who grew the cocoa to invest in a brighter future.”

Read more
Mars appoints Dunning as grocery sales director (4 June 2011)
Editor’s Comment: Decline of Mars is more about the whisper than the Wispa (12 March 2011)
Campaign Trail: Maltesers raise charity bar (22 January 2011)