Company apologises after deliberately leaving out chocolate in advent calendar

There was a simpler time when advent calendars were extremely no-nonsense.

You’d open each door to find a festive picture – there was no chocolate, beer, or makeup to procure.

But considering all the misery and gloom of the last two years, many of us have indulged in a treat-based advent calendar.

And who doesn’t love a little chocolate each morning? Especially when you’re young and normally have strict limits on chocolate consumption.

But one chocolate firm has apologised after leaving some children in floods of tears after they discovered there was no sweet treat behind a window.

Parents who had bought their kids an advent calendar from Tony Chocolonely contacted the company – who confirmed they had left out a chocolate on purpose.

The Fairtrade company left out 8 December as part of a bid to educate consumers about inequality in the chocolate industry.

This was then followed up by two chocolates on 9 December – in a bid to highlight the imbalance.

But it was hard for some children to understand, with one mum writing on the FB page: “My eight-year-old daughter was in floods of tears at the disappointment.

“She has ADHD and is awaiting a possible autism diagnosis, so what seems like small upsets to others are a big deal to her.”

Another wrote on the firm’s Facebook page: “I think you’re preaching to the wrong people here. Those that bought your (expensive) calendar did so because they already support your cause.

“Causing upset to small children – who don’t actually buy their own chocolate, just to prove a point doesn’t sit well with me.”

A third added: “My 6 year old was devastated there was no choc! I’m not sure he’ll appreciate your message either (I pinched one from no. 9 so he settled down quickly enough)

But one mum commented: “Totally got it straight away, I think it’s a perfect session for anyone. Great way to teach a child about fairness and equality – no giving in and opening another door in this house – the point would be lost and you learn nothing.”

Another added: “It was a great way to highlight the situation, especially during a season when so many of us are surrounded by so much.’

In a statement, Tony’s Chocolonely said : “At Tony’s we use our products to communicate our mission – to make 100 percent slave free the norm in chocolate.

“In Ghana and the Ivory Coast, at least 1.56 million children work under illegal conditions because the price being paid for cocoa is too low.

“Worst still, at least 30,000 adults and children are forced to work. We don’t think that’s okay.

“So our products, including our countdown calendar, are purposefully designed to be unequally divided.

“Our countdown calendar includes 25 tiny Tony’s split over 24 windows. #8 has no tiny, #9 and #24 have two tinys to illustrate this.”

Following the backlash, the company said: “We have more to learn in considering how we can make our products as inclusive as possible

“Unfortunately, we failed to consider the difficulties empty windows can cause for neurodivergent children and adults.

“We have more to learn in considering how we can make our products as inclusive as possible.

“We would like to welcome all feedback on how to make our products more accommodating for neurodivergent people going forward as it was not our intention to cause this issue.

“We always want to make people smile with our products but we are not perfect and appreciate the feedback that helps us to become better as we grow.”