Nestlé and biodiversity
Plants provide the raw material for many Nestlé products. Our longstanding research programme in plant science is designed to find ways to improve the quality of plants and materials derived from plants, to improve the sustainability of their production and the stability of their supply.
We have introduced a number of measures to ensure that we respect the principle of fair access to the raw materials we use. Our suppliers must be compliant with national laws and international agreements.
We recognise the importance of biodiversity. We respect the sovereign rights of nations over their natural resources, including biological resources.
Fennel flower plant extract
In April 2013 the non-profit organisation SumOfUs published an online petition stating that Nestlé is trying to patent Nigella sativa, also known as the fennel flower plant, black seed and black cumin.
Nigella sativa is known to have a variety of therapeutic effects, including: anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, asthma alleviation, and protection against pain.
The petition says we are trying to take control of the ‘natural cure’ of the fennel flower plant and prevent others from using it.
This is not true. We have not applied for a patent on the fennel flower plant.
In 2009 we first made patent applications relating to molecules that can be extracted from fennel flower plant seeds or other plants to help treat or prevent food allergies.
Our scientists have found that thymoquinone, which can be found in Nigella sativa seed extract, stimulates specific receptors in the body, which may help to treat or prevent food allergy.
The patent, which has not yet been approved, relates to the use of compositions that provide molecules that stimulate these receptors for the treatment of food allergy.
It would not prevent the use of the fennel flower plant for any other purposes, including in traditional and natural remedies.