The firm today announced KitKat will use cocoa exclusively from the company’s own sustainability program, the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, from the first quarter of 2016.
KiKat already uses sustainable cocoa, accredited by third parties, in the US and some other global markets. The brand has been Fairtrade certified in the UK and Ireland since around 2010.
UTZ and Fairtrade tie-ups
Sandra Martinez, head of Confectionery for Nestlé, said: “This announcement will only strengthen consumer trust in KitKat as a responsible brand.”
A Nestlé spokesperson told ConfectioneryNews: "Our cocoa is both certified, and sourced from our partners in the Nestlé Cocoa Plan."
Nestlé has partnered with Fairtrade in the UK and UTZ Certified in other markets for the Nestlé Cocoa Plan.
The Swiss firm previously announced its entire confectionery portfolio in UK & Ireland would use cocoa from the Nestlé Cocoa Plan by the end of 2015. The company has also transitioned to cocoa from the Nestle Cocoa for some US brands such Crunch.
The move to 100% sustainable cocoa for KitKat coincides with the brand’s 80th birthday.
"Nestlé encourages market[s] to carry a Nestlé Cocoa Plan logo on pack to communicate the sustainable cocoa component on KitKat. The use of the UTZ certified logo is optional," said a company spokesperson.
Total public commitment?
Earlier this year, Nestle told us its Cocoa Plan covers about half of its cocoa supply in Cote D’Ivoire and 25% overall.
Mars, Hershey and Ferrero have made commitments to move to 100% certified cocoa by 2020, but Nestlé and its rival Mondelēz have made no public commitment to source 100% of cocoa supplies sustainably.
Nestlé has however committed to sourcing 150,000 metric tons of cocoa through the Nestle Cocoa Plan by 2017. This would represent around 35% of its cocoa supply against estimates in the 2015 Cocoa Barometer that put Nestlé’s global cocoa supply at 430,000 MT in 2013.
Nestlé Cocoa Plan: Child labor and auditing
Nestlé pays a $150-200 premium per MT under its Cocoa Plan which is split roughly half to the farmer and half to the cooperative.
The Nestlé Cocoa Plan includes a child labor monitoring and remediation project, which its implementing partner, the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), claims is going further to pick up instances of unlawful child labor on West African cocoa farms.
Tulane University last month published a study that found 2.03m children were engaged in hazardous cocoa work in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana during the 2013/14 harvest season, up 18% from 2008/09 season.
Nestlé’s cocoa supply is audited by the Fair Labor Association (FLA). In August last year, the FLA produced a report that found four children under age 15 working on farms supplying Nestlé, evidence of gender inequality and a number of health and safety violations. Nestlé has agreed to take corrective action in response.