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Nestlé celebrates 200th birthday of founder

Malcolm Curtis · 11 Aug 2014, 08:14

Published: 11 Aug 2014 08:14 GMT+02:00

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Born on August 10th 1814 in Frankfurt am Main, Nestlé trained as a pharmacist’s assistant before travelling to the town of Vevey in the canton of Vaud to pursue his scientific studies.

He went on to found an infant cereal business that was the launching pad for the food giant that retains its headquarters in Vevey.

“Two centuries after the birth of its founder, Nestlé’s activities bear testament to a remarkable continuity,” Nestlé’s CEO Paul Bulcke said in a statement issued on the company’s website.

“Although Nestlé has increased the number of its products and markets several times over, its passion for quality and the use of the latest scientific research to improve the nutritional value of its products remains unchanged.”

Nestlé started his business after acquiring a residential property with various outbuildings, including a mill distillery and warehouse, the company said.

He began making a variety of products, such as lemonade, vinegar, paint and fertilzer.

It was when he began experimenting with a cereal food for babies that the roots of what was to become a global operation took hold.

At a time when infant mortality was high, Nestlé believed that a food that included milk, wheat flour and sugar would provide infants with the nutrition they needed.

“Crucially, the starch and acid had to be removed from the flour to make it easier for babies to digest,” the company said.

The entrpreneur used high-quality Swiss milk to “make a concentrated milk and flour baked into a hard biscuit which he ground and mixed with milk before drying into the final product.”

He called the product Farine Lactée, which first went on sale in 1867.

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By 1875 when he sold the company, more than a million tins of his baby cereal were being sold annually around the world.

In 1905, the company merged with the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company and went on to become the world’s biggest food and beverage company.

The company, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2016, is transforming buildings belonging to Henri Nestlé to create a visitors’ centre behind the Vevey train station.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

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