Nestlé is a large client of global agriculture and the success of our products with consumers depends on the availability and quality of a wide range of raw materials, in particular from plants. The scale is significant: Nestlé, for example, processes every year around 10% of the coffee and cocoa produced in the world. To keep delighting our consumers, it is therefore very important that we help ensure the sustainable production of our plant raw materials, at a quality level that meets Nestlé’s high standards.
Nestlé is investing in Plant Science R&D to help farmers produce their crops in a way that ensures their long-term economic future and preserves the environment. We work through a network of R&D centres, together with Nestlé agronomists in producing countries and in close coordination with national agricultural institutes, private partners and local governments. Our activities are centered around:
- Plant selection and breeding to offer a better choice of plant varieties to farmers
- In vitro research to preserve genetic diversity and deliver better plants to farmers
- Ways to improve the traceability of raw materials from farm to fork
- Developing a consumer-centric understanding of the quality of raw materials and how they impact our products
- Helping farmer through practices that improve productivity, crop quality and environmental protection
Saving water in the production of our raw materials
One of our key objectives is to reduce water consumption at the farm. For example, our R&D centre in Tours is testing new ways of eliminating coffee cherry pulps to use very little water while preserving the delicate quality of the coffee. In parallel, varieties of coffee trees that are more water-efficient are being developed. These tools are then offered to farmers through our sustainability programs, for example the Nespresso Ecolaboration initiative.
Developing local raw materials
We work closely with research institutes and farmers to foster the production of local raw materials. For example, R&D Abidjan is working at improving the quality and sustainability of local maize, cassava and yam. We can then buy more raw materials locally, improving farmer livelihood and reducing the impact of transportation on the environment.
21st century tools to improve quality and traceability
Improving the traceability of quality raw materials is key to delivering excellent products year after year to consumers. We are developing high-throughput analytical and DNA fingerprinting tools to ensure that we can only use the best sources of raw materials and only the best of the crop.