Kit Kat certified – big boost for Fairtrade chocolate

The UK’s best-selling chocolate biscuit bar, Kit Kat, is to receive ethical certification through the Fairtrade quality mark, announced today.

After lengthy talks between the UK arm of the Swiss food giant Nestlé and the Fairtrade Foundation, the familiar blue and green logo will appear on the wrappers of Kit Kats in the UK and Ireland from January. Initially the certification will only apply to the larger four-finger Kit Kats but it will be extended to the smaller bars.

The move represents a major coup for Fairtrade, which earlier this year certified Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, and means chocolate is now a mainstream Fairtrade product alongside bananas, tea and coffee.

It follows the October launch of Nestlé’s global Cocoa Plan, a £65m investment programme over the next 10 years to tackle the key economic, social and environmental issues facing cocoa farming communities. Farmers living and working in Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cocoa producing country, will be the main beneficiaries.

As well as the Fairtrade price (or market price if higher) for the cocoa, farmers’ groups receive extra Fairtrade premium payments to invest in long-term community and business projects of their own choice, such as education and healthcare. The sugar in the product will also be Fairtrade certified, sourced from Belize.

Kit Kat, made in York, is the UK’s favourite chocolate biscuit bar, with 1 billion sold here each year. Launched in 1935 and originally called Chocolate Crisp, it has grown to become Nestlé’s biggest confectionery brand in the UK, making up approximately 23% of its UK sales.

I think they just need to work out the weight vs. cost design of the Kit-Kat to achieve similar market share here in the States. You have to feel like you’re not paying for too much air when you heft the confection.

Oh, Fairtrade? Beneficial and useful. It’s part of our shopping plan each week. But, I like Kit-Kats, too.