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Nestlé celebrates 150 years with museum openings

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Nestlé celebrates 150 years with museum openings
The Nest is based in the original Nestlé factory. Photo: Nestlé
11:05 CEST+02:00
Swiss food behemoth Nestlé marks its 150th birthday with the opening of two museums in its hometown of Vevey this month.

New museum Nest takes visitors on a journey through the company's history, while the renovated Alimentarium is a hands-on exhibition and educational space dedicated to food.

The Alimentarium will be free to the public during an open house weekend on June 4th-5th as it reopens after a 19.8 million franc renovation.

Originally opened in 1985 on the lakefront in Vevey, the Alimentarium was the first in the world to explore food and human nutrition.

A nine-month renovation project has completely redesigned the museum, which now sports a new permanent exhibition, a multilingual digital archive and a ‘Food Academy' where members of the public can take cooking classes.

Among the museum's culinary activities, children and teenagers can learn how to cook in daytime and weekend sessions, while adults can sign up for evening classes designed by chef Philippe Ligron, a well-known TV chef and teacher at Lausanne's hospitality school EHL.

Its educational outreach programme includes a website displaying 400 items related to food history in 360-degree high definition, and an online programme for teachers and pupils.

Nestlé's birthplace

Meanwhile, the new the 50 million franc Nest was officially inaugurated on Thursday and will open to the public on June 15th.

Based in the factory in the Bosquets district of Vevey where Henry Nestlé invented his famous Farine Lactée baby formula in 1867, Nest takes visitors on an immersive journey through the company's history and its products, including Nesquik hot chocolate powder, Nespresso instant coffee and Maggi seasoning.

Described as a discovery centre rather than a museum, its director Catherine Saurais said at the inauguration on Thursday: “The objective isn't to tell the story for the sake of the story.

"What nest offers is a special way to revisit the meanderings of our own history, to examine the questions surrounding food production in the world today, and to explore a passionate vision of nutrition in an engaging manner.”

Split into four themed parts, Nest's interactive elements include a body scanner where visitors can learn about the impact of certain foods on the body's organs.

A huge employer in the area, including many expats, Nestlé is a prominent presence in Vevey.

Stefano Stroll, director of the Festival Images Vevey, said in a statement that the new museum is “an occasion to better understand” the company.

“Although Nestlé stands out here, little is known about this global multinational, which is a mix of tradition and innovation.

“Nest arouses curiosity, whilst explaining and illustrating Nestlé's major impact on the region.”

In 1867 German pharmacist Henri Nestlé invented Farine Lactée, a baby formula for infants that couldn't take breast milk, a product that would go on to make the company's name.

Based in Vevey, his company quickly grew, in 1905 merging with a condensed milk competitor founded in 1866.

Over its long history it has built some of the world's best known food brands, including Nescafe, Nesquik and Nepresso.

It has also acquired brands including Carnation, Findus frozen foods, Movenpick ice cream and San Pellegrino.

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