All Kit Kats sold in Australia will next year be made using UTZ-certified cocoa, brand owner Nestle has announced.

UTZ cocoa is already used in the four-finger Kit Kats on sale in Australia but Nestle has pledged to switch all of the brand’s SKUs to the certified cocoa during next year.

Andrew McIver, business executive manager for confectionery within Nestle Australia, said the exact timing of the changes depended upon enough certified cocoa becoming available to satisfy production.

McIver explained that the decision was part of Nestle’s broader “Cocoa Plan”, launched last year, a global programme that has among its aims increasing production yields and improving the social conditions around cocoa farming.

“The cocoa sector faces challenges like poor soil fertility management, ageing tree stocks, improper use of chemicals, low farmer income and poor labour practices. At the same time consumers are increasingly aware of these challenges and demand products that are grown in a sustainable way,” McIver said.

“We believe certification is a critical component to our overall approach. It provides the framework to reward farmers and their organisations for producing cocoa in a sustainable manner, and certification also gives our consumers added assurance that the cocoa was produced under proper conditions.”

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The UTZ certification programme, which works alongside cocoa suppliers like Cargill and chocolate brand-owners including Mars Inc, said it “looked forward” to working with Nestle to “create value for thousands of farmers and bring certified responsible cocoa to the Australian market”.

Last year, Nestle announced its four-finger Kit Kat bars on sale in the UK and Ireland would be made using cocoa certified as Fairtrade.