Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Nestlé Nespresso - something else to boycott

We have had a lot of traffic to the website today as people respond to comments on an article about Nestlé's Nespresso machine in The Guardian newspaper.

Thank you to the reader who posted a link to:

You can read more at:

The Nespresso machine uses disposable pods containing the coffee, which are only available from Nestlé by joining a club, which results in direct mail promoting a lifestyle as well as the product.

This product is advertised by George Clooney, who was questioned at the Venice Film Festival recently about the conflict of him working for Nestlé and his humanitarian and campaigning work. See:

Curiously, like stars who advertise whisky in Japan, Mr. Clooney refuses to advertise Nestlé in his home country of the US. See Bloomberg:


Anonymous said...

My company has had a Nespresso machine for around two years now. All the staff loved the coffee but recently there were complaints about the Aluminum capsules health effect. There is a small amount of paint from the capsule which comes off and there must be fractions of metal breaking off when the capsule is punctured and high pressure imposed. I was not satisfied at all with the response when I posed this to Nespresso:


Aluminium is a naturally occurring element. It is the most abundant metallic element found in the earths crust (8%) and naturally present in the food we consume. Plants naturally absorb aluminium and some plant food sources, such as tea, are inherently rich in aluminium

Use of aluminium

Aluminium metal is wide-spread used for processing equipment and packaging of foods (can, tubes) as it provides one of the most efficient barriers to protect food against light, moisture and air.

Possible sources of aluminium in a Nespresso cup of coffee

Roasted and ground coffee:

Like other plants, the coffee tree absorbs a small quantity of aluminium from the soil. The intake of minerals enables plants to avoid self-phytoxicity. This naturally occurring aluminium is found in coffee beans (0.73 – 52mg/kg) and hence in roasted & ground coffee, ie.: measured average content is around 8 mg/kg. A capsule of Nespresso contains 5 or 6 grams of coffee and about 0.035 and 0.042 mg of aluminium respectively.

Our blends of coffee are 100% pure and do not contain any additives that night contribute to aluminium content.

Alumimun capsule (body and lid/membrane)

Aluminium packaging ensures the coffee freshness, and the preservation of all aromas for the best in-cup quality through an excellent barrier to moisture and air. Moreover aluminium can be recycled. The aluminium body and membrane are coated with a layer of food grade lacquer, avoiding migration of aluminium in the roasted & ground coffee contained in the capsules

Pieces of aluminium from capsule lid/membrane

This may accidentally happen during the coffee extraction with water under pressure. The metallic form of aluminium is not absorbed by the human body.


Water can contain aluminium at a maximum level of 0.2 mg/l. The amount of aluminium due to water can theoretically range from 0.008 mg per cup of 40 ml to 0.022 per cup of 110 ml

Daily Intake of aluminium

The daily intake from food and beverages, as main contributors, is estimated to an average value of 8 mg/day (Food Safety Brief – July 2006). The contribution from drinking water is usually less than 5% of the total daily intake. Migration from processing equipment, packaging and cookware is low and therefore has only a modest contribution to the daily intake.

Contribution of Nespresso cup to the daily intake of aluminium

The consumption of Nespresso cups (0.005 mg per cup) has a totally negligible contribution to the normal daily intake of aluminium (average of 8 mg), ie: one cup of Nespresso represents about 0.06% of the daily intake of aluminium.

This value can be compared to the daily consumption of the following food and beverages:

125g of bread = 0.55mg of aluminium (100 cups of Nespresso*) and 330 ml of fruit juices = 0.13 mg of aluminium (25 cups of Nespresso*)

* Considering there is a low aluminium content in the water


Food Safety Brief – July 2006 – CT-NRC/QS

Guideline for Drinking Water Quality – 2004 – WHO

Nestle Nespresso SA report – August 2002 – JJS

Nestle Nespresso SA report – March 1999 – Alex Kollep

Study on quantification of aluminium present in Nespresso roasted & round coffee re-used for Nescafe. – August 2003 – NRC report RDOR - 60001

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous, RE: your response from Nespresso:

I wouldn't be satisfied, either! It is ridiculous that they demonstrated how their product, scientifically tested and examined, posed much less risk than normal diet! How dare they refute your biased, layman's conjecture with FACTS!