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'Important' change to KitKat bar sold at Coles: 'A very good idea'

More than 250,000 KitKat bars will be affected during the trial in Australia.

Nestlé has announced a major change to its iconic red KitKat wrappers in supermarkets this January.

As pressure piles on food manufacturers to reduce their carbon footprint, the brand announced it will replace plastic packaging with paper. The change however will only occur for a limited time, and just at Coles stores in Western Australia, South Australia and Northern Territory.

The company said more than 250,000 KitKat four-finger 45g bars will be wrapped in paper during the trial. A spokesperson working with the brand confirmed the packaging will not be recycled, but it is certified by Australia’s two major forestry accreditation schemes, FSC and PEFC.

Rows of chocolate bars on shelves.
Like other chocolate bars around the world, KitKat is sold in plastic packaging, but an Australian trial could change that. Source: Getty(File)

It's the second major change to KitKat wrappers, with the company announcing in 2021 it would use 30 per cent recycled plastic to cover its chocolate bars.

News of the paper trial comes after the November collapse of the RedCycle soft-plastics recycling program.

As the operation had been facilitated through Coles and Woolworths, the announcement led to pressure on the supermarkets from consumers and the Federal Government to tackle the issue of plastic waste generated at their stores. As of January 2023, Australians are still unable to recycle their soft plastics.

Environmentalist welcomes KitKat announcement

Nestlé’s announcement was welcomed by Total Environment Centre Jeff Angel who has campaigned against single-use plastics for decades.

Background - rows of chocolate KitKats in closeup. Inset - the new KitKat packaging design.
The packaging can be recycled in curbside bins. Source: Getty/Supplied

“Replacing the soft plastic is a very good idea,” he told Yahoo News Australia. There are clearly very serious problems with the recyclability in practice of soft plastic,” he said.

In a statement, Coles grocery manager Leanne White said the supermarket is “thrilled” to partner with Nestlé on what she said was an “important trial”.

The paper packaging trial will be a world-first, and Nestlé says feedback from customers will “help shape” KitKat’s future. Each bar will contain a small metal strip, but the paper packaging can be recycled in curb-side bins.

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