Nestlé’s Partnership with Malaysian Cocoa Board for KitKat® Dark Borneo

Nestlé Malaysia has introduced its latest innovation: KitKat® Dark Borneo, crafted exclusively from cocoa beans grown in Sabah and Sarawak. This effort aligns with Nestlé’s ongoing commitment to localize its ingredients supply chain. The beans are procured through the Nestlé Borneo Cocoa Initiative (NBCI), established in September last year in partnership with the Malaysian Cocoa Board (MCB). The initiative aims to expand Nestlé Malaysia’s Farmer Connect program to East Malaysia.

This farming venture promotes sustainable agricultural practices, enhances food security, and improves the livelihoods of participating farmers. Since 1985, Nestlé has actively cultivated local chilis and rice in various states. Moreover, since 2019, it has spearheaded coffee planting in Kedah and Kelantan. The expansion into East Malaysia through NBCI presents an opportunity to develop the local cocoa supply. This initiative capitalizes on Sabah and Sarawak’s favorable soil and weather conditions, contributing to Malaysia’s position in the global cocoa supply landscape.

KitKat® Dark Borneo features Trinitario cocoa beans grown in Borneo’s fertile volcanic soil and tropical rainforest climate. These beans undergo careful fermentation and sun-drying processes. With a 52% cocoa content, the product offers a balanced, rich, and creamy taste, complemented by unique fruity notes. KitKat® Dark Borneo is manufactured at the Halal-certified Chembong industrial complex in Negeri Sembilan. The complex recently installed a Biomass Boiler plant, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Serving as one of Nestlé’s largest confectionery plants in Asia, it plays a pivotal role as an export manufacturing hub to all ASEAN markets and beyond.

At the official launch event, held at the Malaysian Cocoa Board in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan, Juan Aranols, Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé (Malaysia) Berhad said, “The KitKat® Dark Borneo launch is part of our commitment to advancing local and sustainable sourcing through Nestlé Malaysia’s Farmer Connect program, which has now expanded into East Malaysia and goes beyond our current engagements involving chili, rice and coffee agricultural development. This initiative makes tangible our vision of “better farming, better lives, and better cocoa”.

Our approach includes implementing Regenerative Agriculture practices like agroforestry and intercropping, which helps to ensure the soil health for the long run, as well as develop the crop yield, which helps in boosting the local farmers’ income. We believe that KitKat® Dark Borneo, in addition to a great tasting and high-quality confectionery, is a great example of how private-public partnerships can bring about positive change and improved opportunities for economic development for the local communities. Ultimately, KitKat®’s promise of “having a ‘good’ break gets its full significance when it benefits everyone, from the cocoa farmers to the many chocolate-loving Malaysians”.

The launch event was graced by the presence of Yang Berhormat Datuk Seri Haji Johari Bin Abdul Ghani, Minister of Plantation and Commodities of Malaysia, who remarked, “Malaysia has great potential to integrate into the global cocoa market, which is currently highly dependent on few cocoa producing countries in the world. Our Ministry, together with the Malaysian Cocoa Board are committed to not only revitalising, but also enriching our cocoa industry. It is our task to reenergise the upstream and downstream sectors, ensuring that our approaches not only increase income generation but also instil environmental stewardship among our communities.”

He continued, stressing the importance of innovative initiatives in tackling industry challenges. “Malaysia was once a thriving cocoa-producing nation, and there are vast opportunities for us to infuse technology and product innovation to elevate our production levels. Therefore, effort such as this by Nestlé KitKat® to support Borneo growers in improving their lives and the quality of their products through Nestlé’s sustainability plan are crucial.”

At the launch event, KitKat® also paid tribute to the hands that crafted the KitKat® Dark Borneo – the cocoa farmers from both Sabah and Sarawak. Additionally, there was a demonstration of cocoa tree pruning and cocoa bean fermentation process by the farmers, which is the crucial step in producing high-quality cocoa.

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