Nestlé says its popular KitKat candy bars will be made with sustainable cocoa exclusively from the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, beginning in early 2016. And that announcement also means a stricter eye on preventing child labor conditions along the supply chain.
The candy bar has been made with Fair Trade sustainable cocoa since 2010, but that was third-party sourced and accredited. Now, all of the cocoa will be sourced directly from its suppliers in the Cocoa Plan.
Nestlé says it will source at least 150,000 metric tons of cocoa through Nestlé Cocoa Plan by 2017, or about 35 percent of its supply. The Nestlé Cocoa Plan “includes a child labor monitoring and remediation project,” reports Food Navigator, an issue still common in cocoa-producing nations.
“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.” That number was actually up 18 percent from 2008-2009 numbers.
In a recent audit conducted by the Fair Labor Association, four children under the age of 15 were found working on a cocoa farm that supplies Nestlé.
But Nestlé thinks it can deliver a higher quality product and ease consumer concerns over child labor.
“This announcement will only strengthen consumer trust in KitKat as a responsible brand,” Sandra Martinez, head of Confectionary for Nestlé, told Confectionary News. The company says its Nestlé Cocoa Plan is “both certified, and sourced from our partners” in the cocoa plan.
According to Food Navigator, Nestlé says that its Cocoa Plan covers about “half of its cocoa supply in Côte D’Ivoire and 25% overall.”
The move comes as major food brands continue to take steps to clean up product ingredients and supply chains. Nestlé’s move, however, is not as strong as rival chocolate producers Mars, Hershey, and Ferrero. All of those brands have pledged to source 100 percent certified cocoa by 2020.
Earlier this year, Nestlé announced plans to remove artificial ingredients from more than 250 of its products.
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