Nestlé launches new pet-food drive in Poland

Nestlé has chosen key market Poland to lead a drive to expand its pet-food operations in central and eastern Europe, where rising incomes have had a major lifestyle impact.

Nestlé launches new pet-food drive in Poland
Photo: AFP

The Swiss-based food giant said on Wednesday that it was building a major new plant and distribution centre in the southwestern city of Wroclaw.

Poland, and the Wroclaw area in particular, were chosen for their strategic position in Eastern Europe. With its estimated 13 million pets, Poland is the biggest pet food market in Central and Eastern Europe, Nestlé said.
Nestlé Purina PetCare division is to spend an estimated 93 million francs  ($98.4 million) on the new facility.
"The investment also supports Nestlé Purina's long-term ambition to bolster its position in Europe," the group said.
Poland is already a magnet for investors who take advantage of its location between east and west, as well as to tap the domestic market in the nation of 38 million, which has managed to sustain economic growth during Europe's crisis.
Wroclaw, which lies near the borders with Germany and the Czech Republic, has proven a particular draw for companies from a range of sectors.
In Poland and other countries in the region — even most of those which have slumped during the crisis — incomes have grown steadily in the two decades since the fall of their communist regimes.
Although pet ownership was not unusual before the Iron Curtain came down, higher incomes and bigger homes for many residents of the region have had an impact, with larger breeds of dogs winning favour, for example.
Set to employ 200 people, Nestlé's new site will be built in the southwestern Polish city of Wroclaw.
Construction is due to begin at the end of the year, with the aim of having the plant up and running in the second half of 2014.
Nestlé, which is a top player in the global food industry for humans and animals alike, currently employs 5,100 people in Poland, 55 of whom work for Nestlé Purina PetCare.
The group began operations in Poland in 1993, four years after the fall of the communist regime heralded a rapid shift to the free market, and currently operates nine plants there.
Based in the US city of Saint Louis, Nestlé Purina PetCare has meanwhile been present in Poland for the past 16 years.

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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.