Swiss food giant Nestlé is to launch a Fairtrade certified coffee under the Nescafé brand in the UK.


Nescafé Partners’ Blend, a soluble, freeze-dried instant coffee made from 100% Arabica beans from El Salvador and Ethiopia, will be on sale in the UK from the middle of October.


“Nestlé’s long term commitment is to develop sustainable agricultural practices in order to help alleviate hardship and poverty among small coffee farmers,” said Alastair Sykes, CEO of Nestlé UK and Ireland.


“Increasingly our consumers expect us to bring this commitment to social responsibility alive in our brands and show them how farmers can be helped to have a better life,” he added.


Nestlé, the world’s largest direct buyer of coffee, said its research indicates that the product will appeal to a new consumer group that, while not currently regular purchases of Fairtrade coffee, are predisposed to fair trade and/or sustainable products.


“This is a turning point for Fairtrade in the UK – the first time that one of the four major coffee roasters has taken its first step in response to rapidly growing consumer demand for products independently certified by the Fairtrade Mark,” said Harriet Lamb, executive director of the UK’s Fairtrade Foundation.


“It’s also a turning point for the many people who support Fairtrade and have been pressing the major companies to offer Fairtrade coffees. This just shows what we, the public, can achieve. Here is a major multinational listening to people and giving them what they want – a Fairtrade product,” Lamb added.


This is the first Nestlé product to carry the Fairtrade Mark, which means the coffee has been bought from democratic smallholder organisations certified to supply the international Fairtrade market, and traded according to agreed Fairtrade standards including payment of the Fairtrade price.


The Fairtrade Foundation said it expects Nescafé Partners’ Blend to appeal to a new wave of people who may not have bought Fairtrade products before.