Here's how you can do good with your Easter egg spending. By Janine Starks.


The Easter bunny will emerge next weekend, sweaty brow, pumped hind legs and a fist full of cash. Prising open the wallets of parents around the country is physical work.

Eight more sleeps and you can chase the furry tailed hijacker-of-cash out of the house.

This won't make for a good church sermon, but for me, Easter and money have long been highly correlated.

Back in the 1970s, Enid Blyton was the profiteer of my chocolate dollar

Two wily parents claimed the rabbit was open to negotiation. Eggs or books? In spotting my desperation for titles like The Faraway Tree, they foiled the delivery of many large eggs. With only two paws and a budget, he could carry a book and a few marshmallow eggs in his pocket.

By the 1980s I was earning from the annual binge. There was a job at the local Griffins factory as an Easter egg sticker-together-er. Grab half a marshmallow egg, wipe it across a hot plate and slam it to another one.

Drop and repeat. By day two you stop stuffing them in your mouth and they all make it to the tinfoil team.

Decades on, I'm now boycotting all un-stuck eggs. Cadbury shall not profit from such lazy mutations. They'll end up like a biscuit-less Mallowpuff in no time. Look no further than the exquisite green-humped Roses peppermint chocolate. That woke up as an after-dinner mint.

Chocolate is clearly an emotional purchase. While gold bunnies, kiwis and squirrels fight for attention in the supermarket aisles this week, consider this; who benefits from your chocolate dollar?

Buying local and supporting our New Zealand chocolate industry is something many of us could consider. A switch to Rainbow marshmallow eggs made in Oamaru is one example. That's shameless support for a company that manually sticks the two halves together.

At the luxury end of the market, New Zealand has some outstanding artisan producers. Hogarth Chocolate in Nelson produce the Andy Warhol Egg ($45) and Devonport Chocolate in Auckland, a Galaxy Egg ($65).

Sneak a look at their websites.

Before you shop this Easter, follow the chocolate drops and see where the profit ends up.

Cadbury: Dairy Milk Bunny $3

Who profits: Mondelez International. Valued at $105 billion with annual revenue of $38b. Shares sell on the NASDAQ exchange in New York for $72 (up 24 per cent this year). Other brands include The Natural Confectionary Company, Oreo, Pascall, Ritz, Milka, Cote d'Or and Toblerone

Shares owned by: Institutions and fund managers such as Vanguard, Blackrock and Invesco own 78 per cent. The general public own 22 per cent.

Nestle: Rolo Boxed Egg $5 

Who profits: Nestle S.A. Valued at $427b with annual revenue of $133b. Shares sell on the SIX Swiss exchange in Zurich for $139 (up 17 per cent this year). Local factories in Auckland and Marton produce $60 million in exports. Other brands include Scorched Almonds, Maggi, Movenpick, Haagen-Dazs, Milo, KitKat, Milky Bar and Purina pet food.

Shares owned by: The general public own 68 per cent. Institutions including hedge fund managers like Third Point own 32 per cent.

Ferrero Rocher: Gold Squirrel $5 

Who profits: Ferrero SpA. Annual revenue is $18b. Other brands include Nutella, Kinder and Tic Tac.

Shares owned by: Ferrero family (Italy). Known as one of the world's most secretive firms. Michele Ferrero gave one interview in his life (wearing dark glasses) and died in 2015. His son, Giovanni, is believed to have a net worth of $40b. Ferrero consume 25 per cent of the world's hazelnut supply. Their Kinder Surprise eggs are banned in the US because they have a non-nutritious object embedded.

Lindt: Gold Bunny $6 

Who profits: Lindt & Sprungli. Valued at $17b with annual revenue of $6.8b. Shares sell on the SIX Swiss exchange in Zurich for $130,000 each. That's correct, it takes almost 22,000 gold bunnies to buy a share in this company. Not splitting the share price is seen as a guard against speculative behaviour. Other brands include Whitmans, Russell Stover, Ghirardelli and Caffarel.

Shares owned by: The general public own 62 per cent and institutions 23 per cent with the remainder as an employee share scheme.

Whittakers: Gold Kiwi Egg $6 

Who profits: J H Whittaker & Sons, owned by Brian and Andrew Whittaker. Based in Porirua and voted New Zealand's most trusted brand in 2018. They're the Kiwi Ferrero family, dating back generations and remain private on the financials. Revenue is estimated at $100m five years ago and exports are about 30 per cent of production, though the company says it gives $80,000 a year to Kiwis for Kiwi.

Donovans: Hollow Eggs $4.50

Who profits: Prolife Foods, based in Hamilton and owned by Bernard and Ann Crosby, Peter Fanning and Alan Duncan. They employ 1300 staff and generate revenue in excess of $250m. Other brands include Alison's Pantry, Mother Earth and Flemings muesli bars.

Waikato Valley: Hollow egg with buttons $3

Who profits: Waikato Valley Chocolate, owned by The Warehouse (Stephen Tindall, Norman Family etc.) and Michael and Myrie Razey. Formed in 1975, employs 40 staff and generate $10m to $15m in revenue. Exclusively supplies The Warehouse and own-brand labels.

Rainbow: Marshmallow Easter Eggs $3 

Who profits: Rainbow Confectionary, owned by Ray and Sandra White, Rodney and Dianna Thornton, Chris and Patrick Betty. Located in Oamaru, formed in 2001, employs 80-120 staff and generates revenue of $30m to $50m. Produces own-brand and Regina brands.

Hogarth: Andy Warhol Egg $45

Who profits: Nelson-based Hogarth Chocolate Company, owned by Karl Hogarth. Formed in 2013, a bean-to-bar producer, international exporter and a gold medal winner at the World Chocolate Awards. On menus in Peter Gordon, Josh Emett and Simon Gault restaurants and taking on Ferrero with Kiwi-made hazelnut spread.

Devonport: Chocolate Galaxy Egg $65

Who profits: Gourmet Village, owned by Stephanie and Terence Everitt, located in Devonport, Auckland. Formed in 1991, a staff of 15 and annual production of 20 tonnes with some bean-to-bar.

Janine Starks is a financial commentator with expertise in banking, personal finance and funds management. Opinions in this column represent her personal views.  They are general in nature and are not a recommendation, opinion or guidance to any individuals in relation to acquiring or disposing of a financial product.  Readers should not rely on these opinions and should always seek specific independent financial advice appropriate to their own individual circumstances.