Strategy


Through enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future, we aim to deliver sustainable, industry‑leading financial performance and earn trust.

For over 150 years, we have built a successful business through understanding and anticipating consumer needs, and adapting to succeed in an evolving marketplace. Based on a compelling strategy, our company delivers dependable value over the short term and long term.

two happy girls

Nestlé has many enduring strengths that keep us at the top of our industry. We have great brands that people love. We have a unique global footprint, a size and scale that we use to our advantage, and the capacity to invest for the long term. In 2017, we reconfirmed our value creation model. Through the right balance of sustainable growth and efficiency, as well as capital efficiency, we will continue to create long‑term value for our shareholders and for society as a whole.

Building on our Nutrition, Health and Wellness strategy


Nestlé’s success is built on its Nutrition, Health and Wellness strategy. Our founder, Henri Nestlé, believed that good nutrition was the key to a healthy life. Today, food and beverages remain core to our strategy. Our aim is to provide the tastiest and healthiest choices, at all times of the day and for all stages of life, delivered in a convenient and time‑saving manner. We also offer consumer healthcare products to help people meet their health and wellness goals. This is what we mean by ‘Good food, Good life’.

Understanding and serving the consumer


Nestlé’s portfolio is well‑positioned for growth. The key to our long‑term success continues to be understanding and serving the consumer. By identifying consumer trends early and acting quickly to capture them, we remain at the forefront of the fast‑moving consumer goods industry.

People today know the importance of good nutrition and of managing their health more proactively. They want products with simple, understandable ingredients, natural or organic, and ideally locally produced. Likewise, many people do not have the time to prepare and cook meals, so they are looking for food and beverages that are convenient too.

Nestlé has the largest research and development network in the food and beverages industry, continually innovating and renovating our portfolio to meet changing consumer demands. We also work with leading‑edge partners around the world, including start‑ups, academic institutions and public organisations. They help strengthen our own capabilities by generating ideas, accessing skills and developing new technologies, so we can remain at the forefront of consumer trends.

We are focusing on products with nutrition, health and wellness benefits. This includes delivering products with simpler ingredients, as well as more premium, organic, natural and fortified foods and beverages. Nestlé also offers a range of affordably-priced, high‑quality, nutritious products. Many of our foods and beverages, especially those for children, include added micronutrients such as iron, iodine, vitamin A and zinc to support good health and well‑being.

Accelerating growth


At Nestlé, we believe that long‑term value creation is the result of both growth and operating efficiency. We achieve sustainable top‑line growth by investing selectively in high‑growth categories and geographies. The target, set in 2017, is mid‑single digit organic growth by 2020. We aim to achieve this by refocusing our base businesses, active portfolio management and prudent investment behind our high‑growth categories.

We are managing our coffee, petcare, infant nutrition and bottled water categories with an emphasis on growth. Nestlé has a significant global market share in these categories. We have some of the world’s leading brands, including Nescafé, Purina, Gerber and Nestlé Pure Life. Furthermore, we have science and technology‑based competitive advantages across these categories. Nestlé is also pursuing growth opportunities in consumer healthcare to complement our focus on these key food and beverages categories. As a result, we are expanding our presence across the pharmacy channels in both emerging and developed markets.

The core of value creation comes from product, service and business model innovation. Strength in research and development is a key differentiator for Nestlé, helping us to respond quickly to the ever‑changing world. Our innovation is broad‑based across all categories, from product renovations to service delivery platforms. It starts with transforming our core portfolio to keep products, brands and services relevant, as well as creating and scaling new brands where needed.

Digital innovation presents us with further opportunities for competitive advantage in developing more personalised experiences and new delivery methods. We are connecting with younger consumers in the digital space, using both local and specialised platforms. We are fully committed to digital marketing and e‑commerce platforms as avenues for growth. Hence, we are expanding these new business models, focusing strongly on our direct‑to‑consumer models, as well as partnering with key online retailers around the world.

Increasing efficiency


Nestlé is committed to margin expansion. We have set an underlying trading operating profit margin target of 17.5% to 18.5% by 2020, up from 16% in 2016.

Our primary driver is to reduce structural costs in non‑consumer facing areas. Well‑identified projects in manufacturing, procurement and general administration are expected to deliver total savings of CHF 2.0 to 2.5 billion by 2020.

We are optimising our manufacturing footprint and increasing efficiency throughout our operations. This will both increase our capacity utilisation and reduce our conversion costs. Through global procurement, we leverage Nestlé’s purchasing power worldwide. We are supporting our centralised purchasing activities by establishing global procurement hubs.

Scaling up the use of shared services brings further efficiency. We aim to increase the availability and use of shared services to 50% by 2020.

Enhanced local and regional decision‑making allows us to move more quickly in the market. Furthermore, we are reviewing and consolidating our real estate portfolio, and we have outsourced the management of the Nestlé pension fund.

Allocating capital prudently


Nestlé has a strong portfolio, with profitable growth platforms and leading market positions in many categories. We take a prudent and focused approach to capital allocation to ensure solid long‑term growth.

We constantly review our brand portfolio and are selective in evaluating merger and acquisition opportunities. We will make acquisitions in fast‑growing categories only if they are complementary to our existing portfolio, deliver the attractive returns our shareholders expect and are in line with our Nutrition, Health and Wellness strategy.

Nestlé regularly revisits its capital structure to reflect changing market conditions and strategic priorities. Our financial strategy aims at striking the right balance between growth in earnings per share, competitive shareholder returns, flexibility for external growth and access to financial markets.

In June 2017, we announced a new CHF 20 billion share buyback programme to be completed by the end of June 2020. Should any sizeable acquisitions take place during this period, the share buyback programme will be adapted accordingly.

We increasingly focus capital spending on advancing our high‑growth food and beverages categories. We are also building on our strong position in emerging markets and pursuing growth opportunities in consumer healthcare. We are taking actions to drive long‑term growth through a mix shift towards higher‑margin and high‑growth categories, and an unmatched dedication to research and development.

Creating Shared Value


Creating Shared Value (CSV) is the fundamental principle of how Nestlé does business. It is our way of creating value for both shareholders and for society at the same time.

We understand that the prospects of our business are linked to the health and resilience of the society and world in which we operate. Our priorities are those areas with the greatest connection between Nestlé’s business and society.

Our 41 public commitments bring to life our purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. These commitments contribute to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. The details of our progress against them are published in this Annual Review.