Kinder Bueno Chocolate

overall rating:

1.5

planets

Eva Greneveckyte
3/1/2022
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Kinder Bueno is a hazelnut cream chocolate bar owned by an Italian company called Ferrero, Despite the name of Kinder Bueno originating from both German and Spanish (Kinder meaning ‘child’ in German and Bueno meaning ‘good’ in Spanish). It was released in Italy in 1978 and was released in the United Kingdom in 2002.

 

It is one of my personal favourite chocolate bars, so I was very keen to investigate how sustainable they appeared to be. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Kinder is an extremely transparent company, even reporting where their sustainability is slightly lacking. They aim for good traceability and encourage sustainable livelihoods for their farmers and workers, which is honestly very refreshing to see. This review will explore the sustainability of Kinder Bueno chocolate bars, highlight their successes and suggest some ways they could improve.

What it's made of:

1.5

The Kinder Bueno bar is a hazelnut cream filled chocolate bar, with small amounts of wafer. Its ingredients are: Milk Chocolate 31.5%, Sugar, Palm Oil, Wheat Flour, Hazelnuts (10.5%), Skimmed Milk Powder, Milk Powder, Cocoa, Lecithins Emulsifier, Raising Agents, Salt, Vanillin. On Kinder’s website, they extensively explain what each ingredient is, how they use it and why. This is useful for the general consumer who might not know what emulsifiers or raising agents are. This promotes transparency from the most basic level and allows people to understand what they are consuming.

 

Kinder claims that all of their cocoa is 100% traceable back to the farm that it was grown from. This means that Kinder can promise that their cocoa is sourced from sustainable sources, mainly to prevent child labour and break poverty cycles. However, most of their sourced from Ivory Coast and Ghana, where farmers are likely to make meagre wages and experience exploitation in some way.

 

The hazelnuts in Kinder Bueno bars originate from Turkey, Italy, Chile and the USA, depending on seasonality. Sourcing any food depending on its seasonality is a great way to practice sustainability, because the produce can be grown in natural conditions and easily transported to the point of sale, reducing the amounts of energy needed to make the conditions suitable for growth or transport it across the world. Growing hazelnuts has a gentle carbon footprint but can be quite water intensive, taking up to 10,515L of water to grow 1kg of nuts. This is particularly concerning in countries such as Chile, which are prone to drought. What is even worse is that only 51% of Ferrero’s their global supply of hazelnuts are traceable – this means there is no guarantee that farmers are not being significantly exploited from growing these.

 

One of the most problematic ingredients is palm oil. 85% of all palm oil comes from Malaysia and Indonesia: these are tropical rainforest environments which act as global carbon sinks and are home to many endemic species. Most palm oil plantations promote deforestation and are monocultures – places where only one type of crop is grown – disrupting the rainforest’s ability to suck carbon from the air and provide unique habitats. Around 24 million hectares of rainforest were destroyed in Indonesia between 1990 and 2015, according to official figures from the Indonesian government, most of which was for palm oil and paper growth. Kinder use RSPO certified palm oil, which is apparently sustainable. However, some bodies argue that the RSPO certification is a con. It took 14 years for the RSPO to ban its members from destroying forests – which it finally did in November 2018. This significantly affects the sustainability of the Kinder Bueno bar, as this certification is likely to be an example of greenwashing. I suggest that Kinder attempt to find more sustainable alternatives to palm oil, especially as the importance of carbon sinks increases as there is more global warming.

 

Kinder has established long-term relationships with dairy farmers, who apparently adhere to high animal welfare standards. They claim to strictly adhere to national production regulations on raw milk and other dairy products. Although their milk sourcing is not traceable to a specific location, Ferrero has been a member of the Sustainable Dairy Partnership (SDP) since 2018, which enables collaboration between suppliers and farmers. This is promising to hear, but I would be interested to know what the regulation of the SDP is, especially after doing research on RSPO.

 

The sugar cane that Kinder uses comes mainly from Brazil, India, Mexico and Australia. There is a risk of poor working conditions in some sugarcane producing countries and issues of low wages and poor health and safety. Sugar cane production can also have a negative environmental impact, including loss of biodiversity and pollution of land and water. However, Kinder asserts that 100% of their sugar comes from sustainable sources, and they have Bonsucro and Altromercato certified sugar – this focuses on sourcing sugar from sustainable supply chains that support local farmers. From a different perspective, any diet that is high in sugar is an unhealthy one and unsustainable for good health. This is important to consider.

 

The Kinder Bueno packaging is made of a thin plastic, and is not 100% recyclable or compostable. Kinder asserts the need for good barrier properties to keep the product fresh and protected during transport. From 2022, the bar will receive a 20% reduction in packaging thickness to reduce environmental impact – this leads to annual reduction of about 550 tonnes of materials and about 1,450 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Considering the scale of action needed to prevent catastrophic climate change, I’m not sure if a 20% reduction is enough – Kinder should invest their efforts into designing fully sustainable packaging, such as paper or cardboard. 

 

Overall, this is an impressive amount of transparency that other companies should emulate.

How it's made:

1

Kinder Bueno bar is made in the factories of France and Warsaw, Poland. Both of which ISO 14001 certified – this is the most widely used environmental management system in the world. Also, both factories use 100% renewable electricity, which is important for limiting carbon emissions: Kinder has promised to reduce its emissions by 50% in 2023 compared to 2018 levels.

As seen from the previous sections, the ingredients for Kinder Bueno bars are grown across the world. There must be significant emissions from transporting everything, especially from South America and Africa, as carbon intensive methods such as flight or ship are used. It is difficult to know for sure, as no information is provided about the sustainability of Kinder’s logistic networks, but I think it is safe to assume that Kinder are not investing a significant amount of money into decarbonising their transport fleet or ensuring sustainability. To improve, I think Kinder should acknowledge how their transport fleet is lacking regarding sustainability and make serious commitments to improve it.

Who makes it:

1.8

Kinder is an Italian brand of chocolate owned by Ferrero, the same company that makes other chocolate-hazelnut products such as Nutella and Ferrero Roche. Ferrero releases an annual sustainability report, addressing various issues such as climate action, water usage and packaging. They have released 12 reports so far, showing that they have been considering sustainability before it became mainstream and more susceptible to greenwashing.

 

Kinder and the Ferrero group have made major commitments towards sustaining good livelihoods around the world. Launching the Kinder Joy of Moving project encourages children to practice active lifestyles, reaching 81 million social users worldwide. This encourages healthier and more sustainable lifestyles around the world, alongside enjoying their products. Ferrero have created an organization called Ferrero Foundation of Alba; this was designed to offer social and health-related assistance to former employees. Ferrero are also launching a 3-year plan from 2020 to have at least 35% of women in managerial positions. However, this is bad when comparing to other companies such as Innocent which have had over 50% of women in managerial positions. 

 

Ferrero has made commitments towards environmental sustainability as well. They have developed a detailed roadmap to reduce emissions from plants, warehouses and main offices, to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit average global temperature rise. They are planning to achieve a lot of this by improving their energy efficiency and switching to renewable sources of energy – however they do not specify how they plan to do this or even which kinds of renewable sources. This is important as different sources have different effects on sustainability and levels of feasibility. Furthermore, collaborating with the company ‘4Evergreen’ and ‘the Coalition of Action on Plastic Waste’ to reduce environmental impact from their packaging.

 

Kinder have openly committed to good traceability of their raw materials, to support both environmental sustainability and sustainable livelihoods. Overall, I am very impressed with their sustainability but think more can be done regarding giving specific information about their products.