Nestlé unveils European youth jobs scheme

Swiss-based Nestlé, the world’s biggest food company, has announced a plan to help at least 20,000 young people find work in Europe over the next three years.

Nestlé unveils European youth jobs scheme
Photo: AFP

The company said on Thursday its initiative would offer employment and create “thousands of apprentice positions and traineeships by 2016” for job seekers under the age of 30.

As part of the youth employment initiative, Nestlé said it will also encourage its European suppliers to offer positions to young people.

“Governments alone cannot resolve the problem of youth unemployment in Europe – companies must play their part,” Laurent Freixe, Nestlé executive vice-president and zone director for Europe, said in a statement.

“We are committed to offering a substantial number of young people the opportunity to learn and develop within our company,” Freixe said.

“These new opportunities are the direct result of our continued growth and investment in Europe.”

The company, headquartered in Vevey, in the canton of Vaud, said it will unveil further details of its initiative in September.

Nestlé said it was continuing to expand in Europe despite challenging economic conditions.

It highlighted its biggest-ever investment in Germany last month, a 220 million-euro Nescafé Dolce Gusto factory in Schwerin in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommen.

The plant is expected to create 450 new jobs.

The company is also doubling capacity for the coffee capsule brand in Girona, Spain, among other investments.

Nestlé said it is seeking talented young people with vocational skills and training, as well as graduates seeking their first position after university.

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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.