Nestlé's Kit Kat announcement - your comments

On 7 December, Nestle announced that Kit Kat is going Fairtrade as a breakthrough for cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), as well as for Kit Kat lovers in the UK and Ireland. The move which will kick off in mid-January 2010, will benefit thousands of farmers in Côte d’Ivoire who as well as a Fairtrade price (or market price if higher), will receive additional Faitrade premium payments to invest in long term community and business development projects of their own choice. Here is your chance to comment on the announcement and view some early reactions.

Rt Hon Gareth Thomas MP, the UK government’s Trade and Development Minister -

"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 -

“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.”

Mark Dawson, York Fair Trade Forum Group -

"We welcome Nestle's decision to make one of their biggest brands a Fairtrade product. We are delighted for the producers - the cocoa and sugar farmers in developing countries who will now be paid a decent price for their crop.

"We see this as a starting point, and we urge Nestle to move to using Fairtrade cocoa and sugar in all their chocolate products. This could never have happened without the pioneering work of dedicated Fairtrade companies such as Traidcraft, Cafedirect and The Divine Chocolate Company. These companies have made, and continue to make, a real difference in world trade, resulting in real improvements in the lives of millions in producer countries."

Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu -

“I can remember 2 years ago, during a William Wilberforce lecture in Hull, posing the question, ‘Is it time that Nestle should make their chocolate Fairtrade’, and many people in York supported that call for trade justice. The managers of Nestle in York have worked very hard to meet that challenge.

“Nestle have invested considerable time, effort and money to make this Fairtrade biscuit a reality and this is fantastic news.

“I have visited the workers at the co-operative in the Ivory Coast who will benefit from Kit Kat four-finger bar becoming Fairtrade, and I know that this is a real step forward in giving them trade justice, recognition and financial reward they deserve. Nestle is to be congratulated for the £3 million Agricultural Research plant in the Ivory Coast which will produce high yield cocoa, coffee, and cassava trees as well as seeds for sorghum and millet.  How exciting!

“This is breath-taking for all concerned. Fairtrade Yorkie – here we come!”

Rob Cameron, Fairtrade Labelling Organisations -

“This announcement brings the possibility of real change to tens of thousands of cocoa farmers and their communities in Ivory Coast – one of the world’s poorest countries. The Fairtrade certification of Kit Kat in the UK and Ireland gives these farmers the opportunity to sell more than 16 000 tonnes of cocoa on Fairtrade terms annually to supply the largest global chocolate brand in its largest global market.  FLO applauds Nestlè UK for taking this significant step towards changing the nature of the cocoa industry as we know it today, bringing us one step closer to our vision of reducing poverty through sustainable development. We look forward to deepening our relationship with Nestle UK and working together towards this vision ”

Fulgence Nguessan, President of Kavokiva says the partnership will give income security to the farmers:

The long term commitment of Nestlé to purchase Fairtrade certified cocoa from Kavokiva is a unique opportunity for the cooperative and its members. Having its cocoa sold at a fair price directly to Nestlé is a source of motivation to all members and reinforces the cooperative's cohesion. It will allow the cooperative to continue to help its members to produce good quality cocoa and increase the yields they produce. The Fairtrade premium will be used to improve the life conditions of our members. We are committed to use a significant part of this premium to ensure that all children from our members can attend school and also to improve the services of the health centre of the cooperative.”

Paul Chandler, Chief Executive of Traidcraft:

"It's great to see popular brands like KitKat and Dairy Milk follow the lead of the fair trade pioneers. With Fairtrade cocoa, sugar and coffee now firmly in the mainstream, isn't it time for the big tea brands – Yorkshire Tea, Tetley’s, PG Tips and Typhoo – to do the same and help improve the lives of millions of small-scale tea farmers and workers?" Read more

The full Kit Kat press release

A case study on the Kavokiva Cocoa Co-Operative, Cote D'Ivoire

Explore our Fairtrade Chocolate section

Have your say!

Add your idea

I am a member of a group who is committed to encouraging members of our Church to buy Fair Trade products. I have come across many people who have read bad press & cannot be convinced that the fair-trade movement is making any difference to lives. They just see it as a bit of a con and not to be trusted. I support Fair-Trade because they are making a huge effort to improve lives. I’m sure that occasionally things slip through the net, it is such a large and spread out organisation I would be amazed if everything was perfect. But overall I think they are doing a very good job. If we had shunned each company who took the risk to become ‘Fair Traders,’ they would probably have given up & then where would we be? I’m sure that each new company that joined the movement were not perfect in every way they operated their companies. But they had to start somewhere. By hanging on to old prejudices, we are not really encouraging companies like ‘Nestle’ to move forward in their endeavour to improve the way they operate. Having taken the time to trawl the net and find out what is happening currently in this company, I suggest you do the same-with an open mind. I certainly wish I could convince some of our congregation to do the same with regard to Fair-Trade -do not think for one moment that I am comparing the two; I’m just saying that once a person has formed an opinion it’s pretty hard to change it. We need to open our minds and encourage improvements for good whilst still camp
- Elaine , Milton Keynes

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This is a cynical marketing ploy by Nestle, just like its Partners Blend coffee. I will continue to boycott this most nasty of multi nationals, not just because of its babymilk policy, but also because of animal testing by L'Oreal of which it owns nearly 50%. I would urge everyone to seek our Fairbreak as an alternative to KitKat.
- mike, Essex

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I have boycotted Nestle for many years and still do. I also avoid other multi nationals and the large supermarkets, because I do not trust them when they say they are changing to more ethical ways. It is not just about fair trade it is about the environment and the effects on small local producers and traders. Sorry I do not believe Nestle when they say one of their products is now using fairly traded ingredients and even if they are they are killing orangutans.
- Val, Devon

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I think that Fairtrade need to look again at the agreement with Nestles and the chocolate for the Kit Kats. It devalues Fairtrade if they don't look at the whole product. Even if the chocolate for the Kit Kats is OK, the implication is that burning the rainforest for the dodgy palm oil thereby driving the orangutans towards extinction and increasing CO2 emissions is acceptable - which it is not. Letting Nestles get away with this will encourage them not to bother to clean up their act and buy their palm oil from sustainable suppliers.
- Sue Lees, London

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I was extremely happy to see Nestle Kit Kat become Fairtrade, as this meant that occasionally I might allow myself the luxury of a Kit Kat which I haven't eaten since I found out about Nestle's baby milk campaign many many moons ago. However Nestle's source of PALMOIL that goes into the making of Kit Kats is not from a sustainable source and is responsible for the current sufferings of the orang utangs, the people of Indonesia and the destruction of vast areas of tropical rainforest. I therefore dispute the fact that this product is FAIRTRADE and I am disappointed and disillusioned, having championed Fairtrade for so long. Another voice to add to the Fairtrade cynics?
- Jennifer Agricola, Isle of Wight

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It is great that kit kat is going fair trade and i think it will really benefit the cocoa farmers. but i was wondering if the fair trade kit kat bars will be sold in Canada, i would really like to purchase them here.
- gwen, canada

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What do people think of the 'new' Fairtrade Kit Kat? I'm not sure i like the fact that despite Nestle's dubious record on human rights, they have now got at least one fair trade item. I think it is a bit of a PR exercise to deflect attention! But maybe not and like many companies, corporations,they to are beginning to acknowledge the need for improved fair wages in developing countries... David F.
- David, Edinburgh

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A big company like Nestle could afford to pay all its farmers fair prices, but clearly profits come before the well being of human beings for a company of this size, this is purely a token gesture and part of Nestle's marketing. It doesn't make me think better of Nestle it just makes me think worse of the Fairtrade foundation. It wont be long before ethical companies abandon the symbol because they no agree with its watered down beliefs.
- John Bullock, Liverpool

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I'm not convinced that Nestle is really producing fairtrade products, having just found out how they are treating their workers in Russia. I will continue to boycott the Nestle brand and will seek out properly fair trade products. Nestle continues to exploit!
- d sheikh, England

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Clearly just a marketing ploy by Nestle with the aim of selling more Kit Kat's. All I see in supermarkets and shops is display units to promote the new fairtrade Kit Kat which will greatly increase the sales. Nestle could of changed to fair trade and not made such a song and dance about it, but this would not of achieved their objective of increasing sales. Normally companies offer a product at a reduced price to sell more, Nestle will achieve this without it effecting there bottom line. I sure a Nestle marketing manager somewhere will be getting a nice fat bonus.
- John Bullock, Liverpool

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