Cereals and grains

Cereals is a relatively new addition to our key raw materials list, and we are still identifying the challenges associated with it. Even so, we have started addressing factors like soil management that will bring wide benefits to farmers.

Sourcing cereals and grains responsibly

We source cereals and grains from many countries around the world. Our aim is to ensure that they are sourced from suppliers where the operations, as well as the farms that supply them, comply with local laws and regulations, as well as with the Nestlé Responsible Sourcing Standard (pdf, 2Mb).

Our main sources of cereals and grains

Argentina, Brazil, France, Mexico, Russia, UK, USA.

Our progress

CSV - Cereals - responsibly sourced


of our total cereal purchased in 2018 was responsibly sourced

CSV - Cereals - traceable


of our total cereal purchased in 2018 was traceable to its source

Supply chain challenges and solutions


The largest challenge we have encountered since adding cereals and grains to our key raw materials is getting visibility of the supply chain. Many suppliers are traders and sometimes only buy from other traders. This means they may have no visibility of their supply chain.

Other challenges identified include environmental, social and economic aspects, such as soil erosion, water quality degradation, loss of biodiversity and an ageing farming population; there is also a lack of interest from younger generations to go into farming. We are taking the same approach as with other raw materials, but also investigating alternative options such as continual improvement programs.

Supporting sustainable agriculture in France

Our French breakfast cereals factories use whole wheat, all of which is sourced locally.

With whole wheat as the number one ingredient in a large majority of our product portfolio, Nestlé Cereals France engaged in the in 2015 to improve their wheat supply chain. The program’s objectives is to support farmers in their transition to more sustainable production systems.

To achieve this objective, Nestlé France has developed the Préférence Charter, in collaboration with internal and external agriculture experts as well as our suppliers. Farmers who are willing to engage in the continuous improvement of their field practices can join the program. The implementation of recommended practices is evaluated regularly, both internally and externally. Préférence farmers are paid a premium for the wheat they produce for Nestlé Cereals factories in France. The Charter includes 77 recommended practices, such as covering soils between successive crops, minimum tillage, and increased numbers of crops and varieties on the farm, as well as reduced usage of chemicals in the fields and during storage.

For the first year of the program (2016 harvest), Nestlé Cereals France worked with 14 farmers. For the 2017 harvest, 30 farmers took part, and in 2018 51 were involved. In partnership with our suppliers, the objective is to involve new farmers in order to increase the supply of wheat from Préférence farms to our breakfast cereals factories in France. By 2020, the program aims to cover 100% of the whole-wheat requirements for the production of Nestlé breakfast cereals sold in France.

Find out more details on the (in French).

Nestlé Purina supporting ecosystem improvements

In the US, Nestlé Purina has expanded its support of an ecosystem improvement project related to its agricultural supply chain – specifically, a project led by in the Wabash River watershed in Indiana, where a percentage of its corn is sourced. Farmers strive to minimize nutrient loss from their fields by implementing best management practices such as installing buffer strips along waterways to prevent run-off and practicing conservation tillage to keep topsoil and nutrients on the farm. Even so, some nutrients and sediments are still lost into the waterways and rivers, where they can cause problems downstream – like the oxygen-depleted Dead Zone where the Mississippi River reaches the Gulf of Mexico. As seasonal flow varies, the Wabash River Basin provides 1% of the water volume that the Mississippi River supplies to the Gulf, but a disproportionate 11% of the nutrients.

The project originally installed wetlands and woodlands at key junctures of the Wabash to slow the water flow and allow the sediment and nutrients to settle, allowing cleaner water to flow downstream. Nestlé Purina will continue to support this project for another five years and provide catalyzing seed funding to install a ‘super gauge’ at the confluence of the Wabash and Ohio Rivers to track and measure system-wide quality trends. , a nonprofit conservation organization, leads the project and area farmers contribute farmland, while Nestlé Purina provides the funding and helps to gain more attention for the effort to attract additional partners. The project will reduce soil sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen from the river each year to improve water quality. It will also have an impact on carbon sequestration in the new woodlands, biodiversity in the wetlands and other ecosystem services.

Protecting vital habitat

Nestlé’s Purina PetCare Company is sponsoring the . Through a USD 2 million (CHF 2.03 million) commitment over four years, Nestlé Purina’s contribution will help keep rice fields in a healthy condition, preserve wetlands and create habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife.

This commitment is part of Purina’s long-term sustainability strategy to add value to the agricultural supply chain and ensure food for people and high-quality ingredients for pets are available well into the future.

In addition to rice being a critical dietary staple upon which billions depend, working rice fields are also a vital habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. Winter-flooded rice fields provide an average of 35% of the food available to dabbling ducks, like mallards, pintails and teal, in key wintering areas like the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Alluvial Valley and California’s Central Valley.

Purina’s contribution will help fund strategies to protect working rice fields, including conservation planning, irrigation efficiencies, nutrient management and the education of decision-makers on water, agriculture, and wildlife and fisheries connections. The project will also help to improve air quality, conserve energy and support the rice producer’s bottom line. Great strides have been made to date, with the and the providing a solid foundation.

Purina’s contribution will also support the next generation of rice farmers. Currently, fewer than 10% of rice farm operators are under the age of 35.

Assessing suppliers

With cereals being a relatively new addition to our core raw materials, the process of assessing our cereal and grain suppliers is in its early stages. We continue to assess our suppliers and work with them to tackle the challenges identified.

Nonethelss, to hold our suppliers and ourselves accountable as well as drive industry-wide transparency, we are making available the list of our Cereals Tier 1 suppliers (pdf, 370Kb) and our Tier 2 suppliers (pdf, 410Kb), along with the country of origin.

Download our Creating Shared Value report

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