Food provides essential nutrients to support the good health of people and pets, in a tasty and pleasurable way. It is a vital pillar of cultures, brings people together, underpins economies and impacts planet health. At Nestlé, through our R&D organization, we innovate with purpose to unlock the power of food and deliver tasty, nutritious, affordable and sustainable products - for today, and for generations to come.
At a glance
Our innovation capabilities
We continuously strengthen our innovation capabilities to ensure that we deliver products that meet people's diverse evolving needs, while reducing our carbon footprint and contributing to company growth. In 2022, we were able to maintain the same time-to-market speed as in 2021, despite the challenging environment.
Through our regional R&D centers in Africa, China, India and South-East Asia, we can innovate closer to the people we serve with agility. We recently inaugurated an additional regional R&D Center for Latin America in Santiago, Chile, enabling us to innovate for consumers in the region, while leveraging our global science and technology capabilities to deliver tasty, nutritious, affordable and sustainable products.
Our new regional R&D Center for Latin America in Santiago, Chile, enables us to innovate tasty, nutritious, affordable and sustainable products that are highly relevant to local consumers.
We also rely on new innovation tools to increase speed, efficiency and decision making, and deliver breakthrough solutions. Using advanced algorithms, we can capture information on trends, ingredients, flavors and health benefits to virtually create and quickly test concepts before further refining for launch. Using these tools, in China we launched Nescafé Dalgona coffee mixes and Nesvita probiotic supplements for adults. We are also exploring the use of artificial intelligence and data science that can help to manage tradeoffs between taste, nutrition, sustainability and affordability in an increasingly complex innovation environment.
To go from idea to shop in six months - with new sites in Chile, China, India and Arlington, Virginia, in the United States - we now have 14 R+D Accelerators. Since 2019, the Accelerator initiative has had over 300 participants, with 150 new products in 20 countries.
Using a test-and-learn approach and working closely with retailers, we quickly develop and pilot novel concepts before investing in a full-scale launch. After a successful pilot test for KitKat V, we launched the vegan chocolate on a wider scale in 15 European markets.
Nutrition solutions across life stages
We develop innovations that are backed by science across life stages, for people and pets. New research showed that Nutrilearn Connect, a unique nutrient blend, increases brain myelination, a process vital for cognition and motor development during early life. This led to a first launch in Hong Kong and China under the Wyeth S-26 Ultima brand. We also continued the rollout in 20 markets of infant formula with five HMOs to support gut health and immunity.
To meet toddlers' unique nutritional needs, we introduced Gerber Powerblend cereals in China and India. These are made from diverse food groups such as whole grains, legumes, milk and fruits to support immunity, brain development and the gut microbiome.
Providing solutions for people with specific health needs is also a priority for us. To support women during and after pregnancy while breastfeeding, we launched a range of Materna multivitamins and supplements in Latin America and Europe.
In the United States, we developed a range of Compleat plant-based standard tube feeding formulas to support digestive health, increased energy needs or decreased fluid needs in patients aged 1 to 13 years. In China, we launched Yiyang milk powder made with mulberry leaf extract, a traditional Chinese ingredient, to support people aged over 45 years in managing blood glucose.
For cats and dogs, we launched Purina Pro Plan supplements - in a multi-format such as oils, powders and tablets - to support mobility, immunity, vitality, healthy skin and coat.
Increasing access to affordable nutrition
Everyone has the right to adequate and nutritious foods, including high-quality protein. In Latin America, under the Malher brand, we piloted a powdered, shelf-stable, plant- based protein blend to complement egg dishes in a nutritious and affordable way. When cooking scrambled eggs, omelets and batters, the soy-based Huevo Más can replace some eggs at a lower cost, but with an equal amount of protein, fewer calories, and less cholesterol and saturated fats.
Our scientists developed a new source of iron suitable for dairy products and three times more absorbed when compared to existing sources. It was first used in Bunyad Iron+, an affordable dairy-based drink to address iron deficiency in children in Pakistan, with more products to follow.
In Pakistan, where one out of two children is deficient in iron, Nestlé has brought a breakthrough solution to market with Bunyad Iron+.
Breakthrough technology for sugar reduction
Offering healthier choices as part of a balanced diet is a priority for us. Our new proprietary technology reduces sugar in key raw materials, with no impact on taste or texture, for different types of products.
Based on fermentation, the technology significantly reduces sugar in malt and milk, while generating prebiotic fibers. We introduced sugar-reduced Milo in South-East Asia, Africa and Oceania, with other product categories and geographies to follow.
Pioneering plant-based products
Our expertise in proteins, nutrition, plant sciences and culinary arts enables us to develop tasty, nutritious and sustainable plant-based products across brands, categories, formats and geographies. This includes soy-based Milo in Thailand, Nestlé Veggie plant-based yogurt with probiotics in Chile, Garden Gourmet Schnitzel in Europe, Garden Gourmet Voie Gras - an alternative to foie gras - in Spain and Switzerland, and Gerber Plant-tastic range of organic foods and snacks for toddlers in the United States and Europe.
Actively pursuing novel technologies
Transitioning toward regenerative food systems requires changes in the way agricultural raw materials are produced and sourced. We created the Nestlé Institute of Agricultural Sciences to translate and apply agricultural science and identify the most promising technologies. Part of our global research organization in Switzerland, the Institute includes a plant science unit in France, and cocoa, coffee and dairy research farms in Ecuador, Côte d'Ivoire, Thailand and Switzerland.
We also explore emerging technologies with start-ups, such as the pilot for animal-free dairy protein-based beverages through our US R+D Accelerator. Using precision fermentation, the products are made with animal-free protein sourced from the start-up Perfect Day, which is identical to cow's milk whey protein without compromising on nutrition and taste. We are also exploring tasty, nutritious and sustainable cultured meat with the start-up Future Meat Technologies.
Scientists at the Nestlé Institute of Agricultural Sciences screen science-based agricultural solutions and assess their potential for reducing the environmental footprint of key agricultural raw materials.
Raising the bar for coffee systems
We are innovating novel systems that bring the perfect cup of coffee to consumers in a sustainable way. This work is driven by R&D experts at the Nestlé System Technology Center in Switzerland.
Neo, a new cutting-edge system for Nescafé Dolce Gusto first launched in Brazil, gives coffee lovers the best sustainable coffee-shop-at-home experience. It comes with a proprietary SmartBrew technology that combines three brewing methods so that consumers can enjoy high-quality espressos, coffee-shop-like americanos and drip-style coffees in one single machine. Its new range of compostable paper-based pods deliver high-quality coffee with 70% less packaging than current capsules.
The new, patented Nescafé Dolce Gusto Neo, with compostable paper-based pods and proprietary SmartBrew technology, was refined over five years at the Nestlé System Technology Center in Switzerland.
For Nespresso lovers, we developed a new range of paper-based compostable capsules that are retro-compatible with Nespresso Original machines, which will pilot in France and Switzerland in 2023.
Through extensive research, the Nestlé System Technology Center developed the paper-based pods and capsules together with the Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences to ensure that the packaging protects the coffee and maintains good taste and quality during extraction.
Other novel systems launched include Nespresso Vertuo Pop, the smartest, smallest, most optimized and accessible coffee machine ever, made from 35% recycled plastic. These new systems meet the expectations of today's most passionate coffee lovers and represent the long-term future of the category.
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