Heather Roberts, from Hosanna Avondale Baptist Church, gives us more tips on how to avoid festive food with a high-risk link to slave labour. Heather is the founder of Just Kai, a group that promotes slave-free choices in the food supply chain. This article is reproduced from justkai.org.nz. 

Christmas is coming! Maybe you’re starting to think about buying gifts or planning your Christmas lunch. Perhaps you’ve heard, though, that many of the foods we eat here in New Zealand are produced with slave labour. Festive foods like chocolate, baked goods, and desserts are all especially high risk, as are salmon and prawns. What to do? You want to buy some nice chocolate for your co-workers, but you’ve heard that 20% of the world’s cocoa is produced by children, mostly working to help keep their desperately poor families afloat. Or you thought baked salmon might be a nice summery option for Christmas lunch, but you’ve heard that salmon are often fed on fish caught by slaves. How can you have a festive celebration AND love our neighbours far away who produce our treats?  

Just Kai is here to help! We’re a group of Kiwis (mostly Baptists) who research the supply chains of food and identify and promote slave-free options. Why? If no one buys slave-produced goods, then that’s one less reason to enslave people in the first place. It’s one way we can all help to end Modern Slavery. We’ve published guides to help you buy slave-free chocolate gifts and have a slave-free celebratory meal. We have printable flyers you can share with your church as well.  

Here’s a taster of what we’ve found:  

Wanting to give someone a biscuit sampler box? This year, all the Griffin’s sampler boxes are filled with biscuits made with slave-free cocoa :-) In fact, all their chocolate biscuits (except the cameo cremes) are made with slave-free cocoa year-round, so Griffin’s is always a good choice for chocolate biscuits!  

Looking for scorched almonds? Waikato Valley Chocolates’ scorched almonds (and chocolate fruit and nut) are made with slave-free cocoa. Look for them at The Warehouse. As well as the usual cardboard boxes, Waikato Valley Chocolates’ scorched almonds are also available in large tubs and decorative metal tins.  

Wanting treats for the kids? Kmart’s entire own-brand Christmas range is made with slave-free cocoa: they have kits for making cookies, milkshakes, etc. and a really cute hot chocolate range, as well as tree decorations, santas, etc. Or if you’re after allergy-friendly options - try this cookie reindeer at The Warehouse or the Moo Free Santas and snowmen (available at health food shops).  

Looking for chocolate for a colleague? Tonys Chocolonely and Whittaker's have both brought out special blocks for Christmas. If those don’t suit, we recommend a wide range of chocolates (truffles, pralines, etc. - including the Ferrero and Guylian ranges) and good quality chocolate blocks. Or might a low-calorie option be better? Samāori’s cacao husk tea has a great chocolatey taste.  

After something more luxurious? Try the new truffle squares from Bennettos or scorched almonds from The Remarkable Chocolate Co.  

Serving fizzy drinks on Christmas Day? The Coca-cola range (which includes Schweppes, L&P, Fanta, etc. and even Keri juices) is made with slave-free sugar. So is the Bundaberg range (which includes many flavours besides their signature ginger beer).  

Doing Christmas baking? All the Countdown own-brand sugar, cocoa, and baking chocolate (including their chocolate chips, melts, etc.) is slave-free, as is the Nestle Bakers Choice range. Our guide has further options, including ready-made icing and vanilla.  

Wanting to serve seafood on Christmas Day? You’ll need to be a bit careful:  

Prawns are, sadly, at really high risk for slave labour: slavery occurs at all stages, from producing feed for the prawns and farming them to shelling them ready for sale. Fortunately, Kingfisher prawns (sold at PakNSave and New World) are slave-free - Plus, they’re a Thai company, so in buying from them, you’re supporting good jobs in a company much less well-off than our own.  

Salmon is also often fed on fish caught and processed with slave labour. Handily, any salmon farmed in New Zealand is fed on slave-free feed, as is salmon from the Australian brand Huon.  

Fortunately, mussels sold in New Zealand are always slave-free :-)  

So, there’s a bit of a taster!  

If you want to know more, check out our detailed Christmas meal guide or our guide to chocolate gifts. They’ll tell you which sweets, crackers, dried fruit and nuts, ice cream and jelly crystals to go for and which hot chocolate, chocolate stocking stuffers and even toiletries make good slave-free gifts.  

Wishing you a blessed Christmas! 

More from Heather:  

Tips for child-labour-free Easter chocolate: Read here 

A yummy Easter activity you can do in your faith community to raise awareness about slave labour: Read here 


Photo: (L-R) Martin and Heather Roberts, Hosanna Avondale Baptist and Anna Seccombe, Baptist Tabernacle.

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