Tony's Chocolonely sued by Milka-maker over the colour purple

  • By Sam Gruet
  • Business reporter, BBC News

Image source, Tony's Chocoloney

Image caption,

Tony's included an image showing how it had responded to the legal action alongside a statement it posted on LinkedIn - with the slogan "Pay farmers, not lawyers"

Milka-manufacturer Mondelez has taken legal action against Tony's Chocolonely for mimicking its purple packaging.

Tony's has launched four new temporary wrappers, inspired by well-known bars such as Milka as well as chocolate made by other firms including Mars.

It said it released a campaign in Germany and Austria to highlight the use of child labour by major suppliers in the cocoa industry.

Mondelez said it owned a colour trademark in Europe.

"We can confirm that the current legal issue is limited only to trademark infringement matters and concerns."

Mondelez added: "As a matter of practice, to protect the values of our brands, which we have worked hard to build over hundreds of years, we express our concerns to third parties when they are using a protected brand element."

The other bars in the campaign look similar to a Kit Kat, which is made by Nestle, a Twix, produced by Mars and the ambassador's favourite Ferrero Rocher, owned by Italy's Ferrero.

Commenting on the campaign, Dutch-based Tony's Chocolonely said: "Most big chocolate companies don't pay a living income price for all their cocoa. Resulting in exploitation on cocoa farms, with 1.56 million children involved in child labour in Ghana + Côte d'Ivoire."

Tony's said that following the release of the chocolate, it had received a legal injunction "about a certain bright, not-so-joyful colour we used on one of our bars".

The colour purple which was on the branded packaging in question, a parody on the iconic Milka bar, has since been replaced with grey,

It added that it planned on appealing the injunction but would comply by changing the packaging for "as long as we need to", adding: "Let's pay farmers, not lawyers."

This is not the first time Tony's campaigning has made headlines.

In 2021, the Dutch chocolate brand apologised for deliberately leaving one of its advent calendar windows empty to highlight inequality in the industry.

The company said it was meant to be "a great conversation starter for change", but instead it was deluged with complaints from parents who said their children were upset by the missing chocolate behind the window for 8 December.