Nestlé and Danone both have the head offices of their Spanish divisions in Catalonia, where the separatist independence movement has been growing. Last month, the region declared independence, which prompted Madrid to impose direct rule.
The deposed leader of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont travelled to Brussels last week as the Spanish government issued an arrest warrant for Puigdemont, and a boycott of Catalan goods gathered momentum in Spain.
Trade Union UGT FICA representing Danone released a statement to its members on 31 October demanding an end to the boycott, with UGT FICA Nestlé issuing a similar appeal three days later.
“Remember that thousands of jobs throughout the national territory depend on the good performance of the multinational,” it said.
“Nestlé products are manufactured throughout Spain; There are production centers in different areas of the national territory, both yoghurts and waters,” it added.
“The families that work for Nestlé are spread throughout the national territory [and] Nestlé collaborates with both suppliers and ranchers and different services throughout the national territory, being therefore responsible for the thousands of indirect jobs generated by the company.”
The calls for a boycott were being made on social networks as well as in supermarkets and restaurants, the trade union said.
Nestlé Spain declined to comment on the situation when contacted by FoodNavigator.
Processed food products are rarely made with ingredients sourced entirely from a single region.
"Every time we boycott a Catalan product, we hit ourselves in the foot," secretary general of the Regional Business Confederation of Extremadura (Creex) Francisco Javier Peinado told Spanish national newspaper El Pais.
“The boycott of Catalan products affects suppliers, for example in Extremadura, which is strong in the agri-food sector."