Brits are spoiled for choice when it comes to Easter eggs, but if you’re dreading the thought of spending Easter Sunday (4 April) surrounded by a bin full of waste, then we have some good news for you.
With around 80 million Easter eggs sold every year in the UK1, it is estimated that each child in the UK will receive an incredible nine eggs this Easter, costing consumers an estimated £381 million. Our energy team has investigated the potential environmental impact of satisfying our sweet tooth this Easter.
The Eco-Eggs Report analyses the environmental impact of 30 top-selling chocolate Easter eggs. The energy team at Uswitch looked at average price, weight, packaging, CO2 emissions, water usage and ingredients to reveal the UK’s most eco-friendly chocolate eggs to buy this Easter, with each one able to achieve a top score of 120.
Ranking 2021’s eco egg offerings
With a score of 106/120, it’s plant-based treat trail blazers Buttermilk that top the Eco-Egg ranking. Scoring top marks for their low CO2 emissions and water usage ensured the plant-based chocolate brand topped the list, beating brands such as Cadbury and Nestle.
Easter offerings from Cadbury and Nestle have amongst the highest CO2 emissions on the list, but it’s the Cadbury Dairy Milk Ultimate Crunchie Bits Easter Egg with 1.84kg CO2 emissions that’s bottom of the table.
The most sustainable chocolate brands revealed
Ferrero, Mars, Cadbury and Nestle are amongst the most well-known chocolate brands in the UK, but there are some differences when it comes to their commitment to sustainability.
We looked at five Easter eggs from each brand to reveal which brand is doing the most to ensure their eggs are as eco-friendly as possible.
Eco-Eggs Report - Most sustainable brands ranked
Fererro (who are the parent brand for Thorntons and Kinder) scored 70/120 based on their low CO2 emissions and palm oil products - just one egg listed palm oil as a main ingredient. However, Fererro eggs scored poorly for their recyclable packaging, with just 82% widely recycled.
Mars (the parent brand for Maltesers, Celebrations, Bounty, M&Ms and Mars eggs) scored 66/120. We discovered that 80% of the Easter eggs analysed contained palm oil as an ingredient, however the packaging was 100% recyclable.
Cadbury (the parent brand for Dairy Milk, Caramel, Mini Eggs and Giant Buttons eggs) scored less than half of the available points for sustainability; 51/120. Each of the five eggs in the study listed palm oil as an ingredient, and the packaging was just 93% recyclable overall.
Nestle (the parent brand for Smarties, KitKat, After Eight, Yorkie and Rolo eggs) scored the lowest number of points against our sustainability benchmarks; 36/120. The emissions were estimated to be 1.38kg per egg and just four-fifths (80%) of the packaging was widely recycled.
In the UK, we predict 97,647 tonnes CO2e are released into the atmosphere each Easter
Our calculations predict that Easter 2021 will release 97,647 tonnes of carbon emissions into the atmosphere - which is the same as 100 return flights between London and New York, and the same weight as 13,949 elephants.
On average, Nestle Easter eggs were calculated to produce the highest amount of CO2e per egg at 1.38kg, followed by Cadbury at 1.18kg CO2e per chocolate egg. The brand with the lowest CO2e was Buttermilk, who produce plant-based chocolate eggs with just 0.56kg of CO2e per egg.
288bn litres of water used to produce Easter egg chocolate
It takes an astonishing 10,000 litres of water to make 1kg of the sweet stuff, which is about 125 bathtubs of water4. For the chocolate eggs estimated to be sold this Easter, we estimate that 288,044,640,000 litres of water will be used. To put this into perspective, that’s enough to fill 115,217 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The 30 eggs in the Eco-Eggs Report contain 8kg of chocolate. We calculate that to produce that 8kg of chocolate, over 80,000 litres of water would be required5, with eggs by Cadbury and Nestle needing the most
7,200 tonnes of Easter egg packaging generated every year, but 91% can be recycled saving 2.3m kWh
Easter egg packaging typically makes up more than a quarter of total product weight in many of the UK’s best-selling chocolate eggs6. We estimate that 7,200 tonnes of packaging could be generated, based on the predicted sales of chocolate eggs. Across the 30 top-selling eggs in the report, we found that 91% of the packaging was recyclable, meaning that 6,552 tonnes could be recycled7, which could save more than 2,340,000 kWh8.
73% of UK’s top-selling Easter eggs contain palm oil
The farming of oil palm trees is extremely bad for the environment as it destroys plants, wildlife and reduces biodiversity as areas are cleared to make way for the crops. Environmental charity Greenpeace have been campaigning for over ten years to raise awareness around the problematic nature of palm oil production. Of the 30 best-selling Easter eggs, 22 listed palm oil as one of the ingredients, including household brands such as Cadbury, Lindt and Nestle. The report found that almost three-quarters (73%) of best-selling Easter eggs still contain palm oil as a main ingredient.
Eight palm oil-free Easter egg picks for 2021
If an ethical Easter egg is high on your list this year, then we’ve hunted down eight palm oil-free eggs you can buy at the supermarket*.
Guylian 11 Belgian Chocolate Sea Shells & Luxury Milk Chocolate Egg £7.00 from Sainsbury’s
Sainsbury’s Billionaires Milk Chocolate Egg £4.00 from Sainsbury’s
Bounty Milk Chocolate Egg With 3 Fun Size Bars £3.00 from Tesco
Thorntons Bunny Milk Chocolate £4.00 from Tesco
Thorntons Milk Chocolate Dinosaur Easter Egg £3.00 from Asda
Lindt Gold Bunny Milk Chocolate Egg £8 from Morrisons
Waitrose Caramel Squiggle Easter Egg £5.60 from Waitrose
Buttermilk Salted Caramel Crunch Choccy Egg £6 from Sainsbury’s
*All prices correct at time of writing
Original source: U Switch