SPIELBERG, Austria, June 22 Swiss food giant
Nestle aims to boost its share of direct commodity
purchases to ensure it keeps a tight grip on quality and supply
chains, Chairman Peter Brabeck told an Austrian newspaper.
"The consumer now wants to know where the coffee in the
Nespresso capsule comes from. We want to double the ratio of
commodities we buy directly - so not via traders - in the years
ahead, especially for coffee and cocoa," he told Kurier.
This is "not because of the price, but rather due to quality
and traceability. Of course also because the consumer demands
this in the age of social media," he added.
Nestle now has 670,000 farmers under contract, he said.
Asked if Nestle would soon do more than half its business in
Asia, he said: "In terms of volume, yes, but in terms of value,
no, because of the exchange rate effects. China is already our
second most important market after the United States."
Around two-thirds of its sales in China come from brands it
bought there, he said.
Brabeck said he was concerned about the emotional debate
being waged over a proposed free-trade pact between Europe and
the United States, saying it was time for a factual discussion
over a deal that could give economies a major boost.
"At a time that we fight for every tenth of a percent of
growth, we should at least discuss the topic objectively," he
said, dismissing critics' concerns that a deal could weaken
European food safety standards.
"As far as I know, no one has died in the United States from
eating American products. If that is our fear then we also
shouldn't go on holiday in the United States."
(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Nick Macfie)