Kenco Sustainable Development, which is adorned with the logo of the international conservation organisation Rainforest Alliance, will initially only be launched into restaurants, hotels and catered workplaces.
However, Kraft will also be adding small proportions of certified beans to all its Kenco and Maxwell House soluble coffees in the UK. These coffees will not qualify for the logo but will help Kraft Europe meet its goal of buying 2,400 tonnes of Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee in 2004.
Kraft Foods UK & Ireland vice president and area director Thibaud de Saint-Quentin said the initiative would help coffee farmers improve their standard of living and quality of life, while conserving the environment.
But the Fairtrade Foundation raised concerns that consumers may confuse the new brand with fair trade alternatives.
“Consumers should be in no doubt - this is not fair trade. Unlike Fairtrade-certified coffee, it does not provide any guarantee that farmers have received a fair and sustainable price,” said a spokeswoman.
Kraft is not the first coffee company to sign up to the Rainforest Alliance scheme. Three months ago Gala Coffee and Tea announced its Lyons Original coffee brand would feature the logo, while Nestlé has been mulling over an ethical coffee launch.