Nestlé has switched to certified sustainable cocoa for its Quality Street brand in the UK - which will be on shelf by Christmas.
The company, which is working with UTZ Certified and Fairtrade Foundation, claimed it was on track to source 100% sustainable cocoa by 2015 and that it was the first major UK and Ireland manufacturer to do so. It currently sources 60% of its cocoa from certified grower for UK and Ireland, with certified brands including KitKat, Smarties, Yorkie and Aero.
Han de Groot, executive director of UTZ Certified, said the willingness of leading companies to invest and commit to sustainability had grown strongly over the last couple of years.
“With Nestlé UK & Ireland’s commitment, UTZ Certified reaches a new milestone, endorsing the sustainability efforts of this market leader, and creating opportunities for cocoa producers worldwide to better market their product and improve their livelihoods,” he said.
The confectionary giant announced the goal for the UK in 2009 as part of its Cocoa Plan, which saw it invest CHF110m into plant science, training and other initiatives. Concentrating on suppliers in the Ivory Coast, it aims to distribute one million higher-yielding and disease-resistant cocoa plantlets this year, train more than 250,000 farmers, and build 40 schools by 2015.
“If we can make cocoa growing viable and attractive for farmers, by building schools and supplying higher-yielding trees to enable them to get a good price, they will stay in cocoa production rather than moving to the cities,” a Nestlé spokesman told The Grocer.