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Have a break, Have a Fairtrade Kit Kat

Nestlé strengthens its commitment to sustainable cocoa sourcing by certifying its flagship UK confectionery brand

York, England (December 7, 2009) /PRNewswire/ — Nestlé UK today announced that Kit Kat, its leading confectionery brand and the UK's favourite chocolate biscuit – will be certified Fairtrade in the UK and Ireland. This move follows the October launch of Nestlé's global Cocoa Plan which represents a £65 million investment over the next ten years in programmes to address the key economic, social and environmental issues facing cocoa farming communities.

Focusing predominantly on the Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire), the world's largest cocoa producing country, the aim of The Cocoa Plan is to use Nestlé's agricultural and scientific know-how to improve the quality and yield of cocoa plants, offer farmer training and education and improve the social conditions for farmers and their communities.

Fairtrade certification of Kit Kat will facilitate long term direct commitments to cocoa co-operatives including additional payments for the farmers to invest in community or business development projects of their own choice, such as improving healthcare and schools.

The first Kit Kats to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark in the UK and Ireland will be the four-finger version from January 2010.

David Rennie, Managing Director, Nestlé Confectionery, said:

"Nestlé sells more Kit Kats in the UK than anywhere else in the world and I am delighted that following the launch of the global Cocoa Plan, Kit Kat – our leading confectionery brand – will now be Fairtrade certified in the UK and Ireland. UK consumers are increasingly interested in how we source and manufacture their favourite products and certifying our largest and most iconic brand is one of the ways in which we are committing to improving the lives of as many cocoa farming families as possible. Over 6000 Ivorian farmers will benefit immediately as a result of today's announcement."

Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation, said:

"The Fairtrade Foundation congratulates Kit Kat on this break-through for cocoa farmers. It is sweet news for the nation's Kit Kat lovers and gives a welcome break to all those cocoa farmers in Cote d'Ivoire who need Fairtrade to improve their livelihoods and communities. Mainstream brands such as Kit Kat bring the critical mass that is needed to tip the balance of trade in favour of disadvantaged cocoa farmers."

Describing the Nestlé global Cocoa Plan Petraea Heynike, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Sales, Nestle S.A. said:

"Cocoa is vital to the livelihoods of nearly 50 million people worldwide, including 5 million farmers. The most effective way for cocoa farmers to increase their income is by increasing quality and productivity of their harvests. By combining the funding of farmer training and educations schemes with an extensive tree plantlet programme our Cocoa Plan aims to give farmers the best and most effective means to better their livelihoods."

Commenting on the news Trade and Development Minister, Gareth Thomas, said:
"I am glad to see Kit Kat become Fairtrade certified, giving more British shoppers the chance to improve the lives of some of the world's poorest people.

"This will give thousands of Ivorian cocoa farmers better opportunities to trade their way out of poverty."

Shadow Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell MP said:

"This is real and important progress. There are many competing brands of Fairtrade chocolate available to British consumers and they all help bring progress and stability to the lives of poor farmers in the developing world. The Fairtrade movement has been going from strength to strength and today's announcement marks further progress."

Nestlé has been working in the Ivory Coast, one of the poorest countries in the world, for over 50 years. As a leader in cocoa and coffee plant science Nestlé has pioneered techniques to produce higher quality seedlings and help farmers increase productivity, investing over £35 million in sustainability initiatives in the last 15 years and supplying over 17 million coffee and cocoa plantlets to producer countries. Certifying its biggest confectionery brand brings to life a shared ambition between Nestle and Fairtrade to empower Ivorian cocoa farmers to help them improve their lives and give them a better deal in return for high-quality cocoa.

Additional sustainability initiatives which will be funded by Nestlé as part of The Cocoa Plan include:

  • Plant expertise – improving the quantity and quality of yields by providing 12 million stronger, more productive cocoa tree plantlets to farmers over the next 10 years.
  • Farmer training and assistance – teaching more efficient, sustainable farming methods, such as the effective pruning of trees, fermentation and drying of beans
  • Improving the supply chain – Nestlé is committed to buy beans from farms which use sustainable practices; helping cooperatives and farmer associations by speeding up the process from farm to export
  • Better social conditions – Nestlé is working with partner organisations such as the International Cocoa Initiative and the World Cocoa Foundation to tackle issues such as child labour and poor access to education

For further information regarding this announcement please visit www.nestle.co.uk or for more detail about the Cocoa Plan please visit www.thecocoaplan.com

Notes to editors

Key Facts – Kit Kat and Fairtrade

  • Kit Kat, made in York, is the UK's favourite chocolate biscuit bar
  • Each year, one billion Kit Kats bars are sold in the UK
  • The Kit Kat range makes up approximately 23% of Nestlé Confectionery UK sales. Almost a quarter of the Kit Kat sales are four finger Kit Kat
  • The UK is the biggest market for Kit Kat globally. It is about twice as big as the second Kit Kat market, Japan
  • Kit Kat continues to be one of the world's best selling confectionery brands.

About Nestlé in the UK

Nestlé UK and Ireland has approximately 7,000 employees across 20 sites and comprises: Nestlé UK (Food & Beverage, Confectionery and Food Services), Nestlé Ireland, Nestlé Purina Petcare, Nestlé Waters, Cereal Partners UK (a joint venture with General Mills) and Lactalis-Nestlé Chilled Dairy (a joint venture with Lactalis).

In the UK, the company manufactures some of Nestlé's most popular and iconic brands, including KIT KAT® confectionery (the UK's No 1 selling biscuit), QUALITY STREET® confectionery, NESCAFÉ® soluble coffee, SHREDDED WHEAT® cereal, BUXTON® water, NESTLÉ® PURE LIFE® water, SKI® yoghurt and FRISKIES® petfood.

For more information on Nestlé in the UK, click on the following link: www.nestle.co.uk.
For information on Nestlé S.A., click on the following link: www.nestle.com

About the Fairtrade Foundation

The FAIRTRADE Mark is a certification mark and a registered trademark of Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) of which the Fairtrade Foundation is the UK member. The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent certification body which licenses the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products which meet international Fairtrade standards. This independent consumer label is now recognised by 70% of UK consumers and appears on products as a guarantee that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal. Today, more than 7.5 million people – farmers, workers and their families – across 59 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system www.fairtrade.org.uk

Press Contact:

Paul Raeburn
020 7544 3122