Tony's Chocolonely is a Dutch confectionery company founded in 2005 by Dutch television producer and journalist Teun van de Keuken. The company's genesis was inspired by Van de Keuken's discovery that most chocolate produced at that time had links to slave labor. His initial efforts to expose and change these abuses through investigative journalism were unsuccessful, so he decided to enter the industry himself and start producing chocolate bars. The name "Chocolonely" is a reference to Van de Keuken feeling as though he was the only person in the industry interested in eradicating slavery. The company quickly gained popularity, selling 20,000 bars in its first two days.
Tony's Chocolonely has distinguished itself from other chocolate producers by its commitment to ethical practices and its mission to end exploitation in the cocoa industry. The company's cocoa mass has been fully traceable since 2013, and its cocoa butter since 2016, enabling it to ensure that its products are manufactured without the use of slave labor. This commitment was validated in 2007 when a court in Amsterdam ruled that there was sufficient evidence that the company's products were manufactured without the help of slaves.
The company has seen substantial growth since its inception, and by 2018, it held 18 percent of the market share in the Netherlands, making it one of the country's largest chocolate manufacturers. Beginning in 2015, it expanded into the United States, opening its first international office in Portland, Oregon. By the end of 2018, Tony's Chocolonely was available in multiple countries including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden, and the United States. The company launched in the United Kingdom in 2019, and their products became more widely available in Ireland from 2019 onwards.
Despite its commitment to ethical practices, Tony's Chocolonely faced backlash in 2021 when the American organization Slave Free Chocolate removed the company from their list of ethical chocolate companies due to a collaboration with another chocolate manufacturer, Barry Callebaut, which had issues of child labor within its supply chain. However, no confirmed instances of child labor were found within Tony's supply chain. As for the future, Tony's Chocolonely has secured an additional €20m of capital from its existing shareholders to accelerate its mission and fund its rapid growth in multiple markets.