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Quality Street chocolates are getting an environmental makeover - but how green is Nestlé?

Quality Street will ditch their iconic wrapping after more than 80 years. The new wrappers will be made from recyclable paper.
Quality Street will ditch their iconic wrapping after more than 80 years. The new wrappers will be made from recyclable paper.   -   Copyright  NESTLÉ   -  
By Charlotte Elton

Some of the UK’s most iconic chocolates are getting an environmentally-friendly makeover.

After 86 years, Quality Street chocolates will no longer be wrapped in colourful foil and plastic packaging.

Instead, the treats - manufactured by Nestlé - will be wrapped in recyclable waxed paper.

The move will help reduce the 2.5 billion sweet wrappers that end up in landfill every single year.

It is a step in the right direction for Nestlé, which has previously been criticised for its massive plastic footprint.

In 2021, a report by environmental NGO Break Free From Plastic named the company as one of the top four plastic polluters in the world, alongside PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Unilever.

When will the new Quality Street wrappers come in?

New packaging will be phased in over coming weeks and months. Nine of the eleven popular Quality street chocolates - all but Orange Crunch and the Green Triangle - will have the new packaging.

The colours representing the different types of chocolate will stay the same.

Nestlé - the brand that owns Quality Street - deliberated over the decision, says Cheryl Allen, the company’s head of sustainability.

“Quality Street is a brand that people feel very strongly about.

“We know that opening the lid and seeing ‘the jewels’, as we call them, is really important.

“We think we’ve done a really good job with the redesign, and feel confident that people will respond positively.”

KitKats will also be made more environmentally friendly, with packaging to be made of 80 per cent recycled plastic.

How ethical are Quality Street chocolates?

The move is a win for the environment. However, campaigners critique Quality Street’s parent company Nestlé for other environmental and ethical failings.

Ethical Consumer - a UK consumer organisation - critiques the company’s “poor approach” to cocoa sourcing.

“While (Nestlé) appeared to source 44 per cent of cocoa through its Cocoa Plan… Ethical Consumer expected 100 per cent of chocolate products to be certified,” the organisation warns.

The chocolate used in Quality Street is all sourced through the brand's Cocoa Plan, but other products are not.

Nestlé also received the organisation’s worst possible rating for animal rights, factory farming and animal testing.

A company spokesperson told Ethical Consumer that Nestlé aims to use only cage-free eggs for all its food products globally by 2025 and “shares people’s concerns” about animal testing.

“We are committed to reducing our use of (animal testing) to a minimum, and believe it should only take place when absolutely necessary, to meet our ethical and legal obligations,” they said.

For guilt-free gorging, check out our list of ethical chocolate brands.