By the end of 2020, cereal giant The Kellogg Company will be using 100% responsibly sourced vanilla, thanks to a new three-year partnership with Symrise.
While admittedly Kellogg uses a very small amount of vanilla in its foods globally, Symrise is the manufacturer’s main supplier of natural vanilla for its well-known Nutri-Grain bars and Eggo Thick and Fluffy Waffles. Kellogg also uses vanilla in some cereal and granola products.
The three-year project will see Kellogg help fund initiatives on the ground the Ankavanana region of Madagascar – where its vanilla is sourced.
“The programme Kellogg is funding supports 1,000 farmers, who are already enrolled in the project and receiving benefits to ensure they are responsibly sourcing vanilla,” a Symrise spokesperson told FoodNavigator. “They will continue to receive training and support over three years.”
Sustainability at the source
According to Symrise, ‘strong engagement’ with the vanilla farming communities of Ankavanana – in northeastern Madagascar – enables farmers and their families to work towards common goals.
“The programme drives impact directly at the source of vanilla farming via our integrated supply chain,” said the company’s Global Competence Director Vanilla, Yannick Leen.
“The partnership highlights the value of our active and collaborative year-round presence in this unique region. In turn, it ensures the highest quality vanilla, brings certainty and creates shared value for farmers, as well as ensuring sustainability of supply.”
Specifically, farming communities will receive training and education. The programme also helps to introduce alternative crops, which Symrise says ‘adds diversity and mitigates risk’. Such crops include patchouli, vetiver and ginger.
Climate-smart agriculture practices will also be taught on the ground, specifically for the cultivation of rice – the major subsistence crop for the Malagasy people.
“Through Kellogg’s funding to Symrise, farmers are receiving climate-smart agriculture training, education, access to healthcare and financial training, including the establishment of Community Based Savings Groups (CBSG) to help farming communities save together and receive small loans,” a spokesperson elaborated.
The partnership goes both ways, with Symrise supplying Kellogg with vanilla, and Kellogg sharing best practices and lessons learned from other Kellogg’s sustainable agriculture programmed, called ‘Kellogg’s Origins’ – alongside funding.
Under the Kellogg’s Origins initiative, the cereal giant is supporting more than 40 active projects around the world, working with 1,600 farmers in upwards of 20 countries to ‘measure continuous environmental improvements’ on supplier farms.
The goal is that by 2020, Kellogg’s top ten ‘priority ingredients’ will all be responsibly sourced.