Nestlé invests heavily in Singapore R & D centre

Swiss-based global food giant Nestle says its has expanded its research and development operations in Singapore, amid robust Asian market growth.

Nestlé invests heavily in Singapore R & D centre
Nestlé headquarters in Vevey in the canton of Vaud. Photo: Nestlé

Nestlé said on Wednesday that it invested almost four million francs ($4.1 million) to extend its research facility, and would this year add 20 jobs to the current team of 100.
The group's goal, it said in a statement, is to "allow greater focus on its fastest-growing markets in the Asia-Pacific region".
The Singapore centre, which employs experts from 17 countries, specializes in fields including mechanical engineering, analytical chemistry, microbiology and sensory science.
It is to take the lead in Nestle's global development of its Nescafe coffee and Milo powered milk brands.
"One of R&D Singapore's main objectives is to ensure that nutrition and health are integral considerations in new product development," said Johannes Baensch, Nestlé's head of research and development, in the statement.
"This will include new formulations and formats, as well as reducing sugar, salt and fat in our products, without compromising taste," he said, adding that the products developed were tailored to meet local tastes in different markets.
The Singapore centre, Nestlé's first in Asia, was opened in 1980.

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‘Unlimited resources’: Switzerland’s Nestle goes vegan

Swiss food giant Nestle, which has made billions with dairy products, said Monday it will host start-ups that want to develop vegetarian alternatives.

'Unlimited resources': Switzerland's Nestle goes vegan

Nestle could thus find itself at the forefront of a sector that has strong growth potential, an analyst commented.

It plans to open its research and development (R&D) centre in Konolfingen, Switzerland to “start-ups, students and scientists” a statement said.

In addition to testing sustainable dairy products, the group plans to encourage work on plant-based dairy alternatives, it added.

Chief executive Mark Schneider was quoted as saying that “innovation in milk products and plant-based dairy alternatives is core to Nestle's portfolio strategy.”

The group unveiled a vegetable-based milk that had already been developed with the process, and technical director Stefan Palzer told AFP it planned to focus on 100-200 such projects a year.

Jon Cox, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux, noted that while Nestle had missed some consumer trends in the past, it has now “taken something of a lead in the plant-based alternative market for food”.

And “given its pretty much unlimited resources, Nestle is going to come out one of the winners in the space,” Cox forecast in an e-mail.

Nestle said that “internal, external and mixed teams” would work at the R&D centre over six-month periods.

Nestle would provide “expertise and key equipment such as small to medium-scale production equipment to facilitate the rapid upscaling of products for a test launch in a retail environment,” it added.

The Swiss food giant has long been known for its dairy products, but faced a boycott in the 1970s for allegedly discouraging mothers in developing countries from breastfeeding even though it was cheaper and more nutritious than powdered formula.

On Monday, the group's statement also underscored that the research initiative was part of its commitment to help fight global warming.

“As a company, we have set ambitious climate goals. This is part of our promise to develop products that are good for you and good for the planet,” it said.