Tony’s Chocolonely: creating a slave free chocolate brand - Ben Greensmith

A conversation with Lord Chocolonely III (GM UK & Ireland), Ben Greensmith on the story of the challenger brand Tony's Chocolonely.
Tony's Chocolonely is on a mission to make chocolate free of child-labour and slavery worldwide. I catch up with Lord Chocolonely III, or Ben Greensmith who runs Tony's in the UK about what it's like to run a mission-focused challenger brand in 2021.

About Ben

Ben started his career in food and drink over 20 years ago at IRI and then working for Unilever in a mixture of sales and category management roles. He joined innocent drinks in 2007 and was there for 8 years, holding a number of senior commercial roles and helping build the UK business that was eventually sold to Coca-Cola in 2013 for £0.5 billion. He left in 2015 to join Proper Snacks, most recently holding the position of Chief Operating Officer. Ben has been working for Tony’s Chocolonely since September 2018 as employee number 1 in the UK and is responsible for leading the business in the UK and Ireland. His official job title is Lord Chocolonely iii.

About Tony's

At Tony’s Chocolonely our mission is to make chocolate free of child-labour and slavery; not just our chocolate but all chocolate worldwide. Tony’s has been around for 15 years in our home country, the Netherlands, where we’re now the number 1 brand with a 20% market share. Tony’s launched in the UK in January 2019 and already the 6th biggest chocolate bar brand and the fastest growing.

What we covered in this episode
  • Being named Lord Chocolonely iii
  • How the packaging was invented in 15mins
  • The truth about inequality in the cocoa supply chain
  • The food unwrapped programme that inspired Tony’s
  • How Tony prosecuted himself for crimes against chocolate
  • The lonely battle to end child labour that created Chocolonely
  • The principles that ensure Tony’s helps make production slave free
  • Why Tony’s wants the competition to copy them
  • Challenging the removal of an endorsement by Slave Free Org
  • The different ways Tony’s are making an impact on living wages
  • Why Tony’s bars are created with unequal chunks
  • How Ben convinced Tony’s to let him launch the brand in the UK
  • Creating a £30m chocolate business in just 3 years
  • Challenger brand lessons from Tony’s
  • How Tony’s rate of sale compares to the Chocolate giants
  • The price per gram of Tony’s and how it compares
  • Creating headline news with an Advent calendar
  • SPOILER ALERT: some days may contain extra chocolate
  • Celebrity endorsement for the calendar
  • Customer reaction to the missing chocolate on Day 8
  • Getting on Have I Got News For You
  • What should be making the news
  • Results of Uncensored CMO poll asking whether it was a good move
  • Why Tony’ back a sugar tax and High Sugar, Fat & Salt (HFSS) legislation
  • Answering the challenge of being responsible for making people fat
  • How to protect your culture as your business grows
  • Crazy about chocolate and serious about people
  • The power of healthy dissatisfaction
  • How to be more outspoken in 2022
  • The importance of fitness to create energy for the demands of the job

Tony’s Chocolonely: creating a slave free chocolate brand - Ben Greensmith
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