Symrise claims success in joint venture with Kellogg for sustainably sourced vanilla

A partnership between US snacks and cereals producer Kellogg Company and Symrise flavour and fragrance group has seen a three-year project in Madagascar deliver 100% of Kellogg’s vanilla ingredients from sustainable sources, reports Neill Barston.

According to Symrise, the project enjoys continued success based on a shared collective commitment that has centred on strong engagement with the vanilla farming communities of Ankavanana, enabling farmers and their families to work together towards common goals.

The partnership comes as the German-headquartered global fragrance and flavour specialist also released its half-year results, which showed the group had increased sales by 7.6% to €1.8 billion, despite a backdrop of markets impacted by coronavirus. Its earnings before tax for the period also increased by a total of 11.9% to €393 million, which exceeded the company’s projected profit targets.

Speaking on its venture with Kellogg, Yannick Leen, global competence director Vanilla, Symrise, said: ““The programme drives impact directly at the source of vanilla farming via our integrated supply chain.

“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.”

In 2019, Kellogg, which produces key global snacks and breakfast cereal ranges, joined the growing “Symrise and Friends” family of private sector partners. They work together to deliver synergistic benefits for the vanilla farming communities and the biodiverse environment in which they live. Kellogg brings extensive experience of Climate Smart Agriculture to the project. The partnership is scaling up for greater impact with the other programme partners including Unilever, GIZ and Save the Children.

‘“Responsibly sourcing our ingredients means making a difference from the very start. That’s why we’re working closely with the farmers who grow them,” said Kellogg Company Chief sustainability officer Amy Senter. “Farmers like those in Madagascar aren’t just growing vanilla for people around the world, they’re cultivating healthy soils, diverse ecosystems and strong communities. And across Kellogg, we want to help them do even more.”

As the company noted, its fully integrated approach is based on living close to and working closely with farmers every day of the year to foster good agricultural practices and budget/cash flow management. This empowers farmers to run their farms in a sustainable way and be more financially resilient in a volatile market.

The company’s holistic deliver of systems also includes training and education within the communities and the introduction of alternative crops. This adds diversity and mitigates risk. Crops include patchouli, vetiver and ginger. The farmers also learn to apply Climate Smart Agriculture practices to the cultivation of rice, the major subsistence crop for the Malagasy people.

Furthermore, the joint partnership between Kellogg and Symrise provides ongoing engagement and training for over 1,000 Malagasy smallholder vanilla farmers. This helps to improve their livelihoods and protect the fragile environment that they and their families call home. Symrise in Europe and Madagascar worked with Kellogg’s teams in Battle Creek, Michigan, USA and Sydney, Australia, with financial support from the Bridging the Gap, SDG Compact with GIZ with match-funding provided by BMZ.

‘’This partnership has further solidified our strong relationship with Kellogg and helps to enhance the global profile of projects which are essential to the quality and sustainability of our agriculture and can also change attitudes across the world.’ says Yannick Leen. ‘We look forward to building on this and many other relationships as we help to create a more sustainable future.’

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