Nestlé Malaysia Unveils KitKat® Dark Borneo Harnessing Local Cocoa for Sustainable Delights

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Nestlé Malaysia has just unveiled its latest innovation: KitKat® Dark Borneo, made exclusively using cocoa beans grown in Sabah and Sarawak, in line with its ongoing efforts to localize its ingredients supply chain. The beans are sourced through the Nestlé Borneo Cocoa Initiative (NBCI) launched in September last year, a strategic partnership between Nestlé Malaysia and the Malaysian Cocoa Board (MCB) to expand the Company’s Farmer Connect program to East Malaysia.

This farming venture supports better and more sustainable agricultural practices, contributing to the nation’s food security and improved livelihoods for the farmers involved through Nestlé’s Farmer Connect program. Since 1985, the Company has been actively engaged in planting local chilis and rice in several states, and more recently, since 2019, it has led the expansion of coffee planting in Kedah and Kelantan. The expansion through NBCI to East Malaysia offers a great opportunity to develop cocoa local supply, building on the favorable soil and weather conditions in Sabah and Sarawak, while contributing to positioning Malaysia back in the global supply landscape for this highly valued crop.

Using Trinitario cocoa beans grown in Borneo’s fertile volcanic soil and tropical rainforest climate, which go through a careful fermentation and sun-drying process, the KitKat® Dark Borneo with 52% cocoa content strikes a perfect balance of rich and creamy taste, with unique fruity notes that give the product a very distinct and sophisticated personality. KitKat® Dark Borneo is part of the KitKat® product range produced at the Halal-certified Chembong industrial complex in Negeri Sembilan, recently equipped with a new Biomass Boiler plant that significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. This facility is one of the largest Nestlé confectionery plants in Asia and plays a pivotal role as an export manufacturing hub to all ASEAN markets and other destinations.

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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