This article looks at the evolution of the British chocolate industry from the 1860s to the 1960s, a period during which it was dominated by Quaker businesses: Cadbury, Rowntree, and their predecessor, Fry. It provides evidence of early forms of fair trade by these Quaker businesses, showing that, before the fair trade movement took off in the 1970s, they contributed to social change and to improvement in living standards and long-term sustainable economic growth in developing countries. This article argues that when the mechanisms for enforcing food standards were weak and certification bodies did not exist, the Religious Society of Friends acted as an indirect independent endorser, reinforcing the imagery and reputation of the Quaker-owned brands and associating them both with purity and quality and with honest and fair trading.
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