Nestlé opens new Chinese research centre and technology hub
A significant expansion of Nestlé’s activities in China has been confirmed with the inauguration of a new research & development centre (R&D) in Beijing and a system technology hub in Shenzhen.
The company, which operates a number of confectionery brands within the region, including its flagship KitKat series, explained that its growth with its new facilities comes in response to fast-changing consumer demands across its portfolio.
Nestlé said its research facilities in Beijing focus on creating new food and beverage products primarily for Chinese consumers but also for those elsewhere in Asia. Located close to close to the Nestlé China Headquarters, it has state-of-the-art facilities that include rapid prototyping and packaging labs, as well as a consumer insight area. The center features over 40 R&D specialists working across multiple product categories, with expertise in sensory sciences, food technology and nutrition. They also collaborate with local universities and innovation partners. The site also houses the Nestlé Food Safety Institute in China.
CEO Mark Schneider (pictured at the company’s most recent AGM), said at the opening event: “China is one of the fastest-changing food and beverage markets in the world, and a significant growth driver for Nestlé. We are strengthening our local R&D capabilities so that our teams can work faster and more efficiently to turn great ideas into the latest must-have products for consumers in China.”
The Shenzhen System Technology Hub is an extension of the Nestlé System Technology Centre in Orbe, Switzerland. The location near leading beverage machine and system manufacturers enables Nestlé to rapidly turn new ideas for beverage systems and components into reality. Technologists and engineers based in Shenzhen will also scout new system technologies relevant for Nestlé’s global beverage businesses.
As the company confirmed, China is now the second biggest market for the business. It has been present in the country for over 30 years. The company has 33 production sites, three R&D and two innovation centres, a food safety institute, a dairy farming institute and one coffee centre, employing a total of around 43,000 people across the country.
Nestlé’s CTO Stefan Palzer said: “We are constantly looking for opportunities to increase the speed of our trend-based innovation. The proximity of the R&D team to the Nestlé China Headquarters and of the System Technology Hub to our suppliers and manufacturers will enable a strong collaboration that will help Nestlé push the boundaries by bringing breakthrough innovations to the market faster.”
Aside from Mark Schneider and Stefan Palzer, the inauguration was also attended by the Swiss Ambassador, Mr. Bernardino Regazzoni, the CEO of Nestlé for Asia, Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa, Chris Johnson, the Chairman and CEO of Nestlé China, Mr. Rashid Qureshi, Head of R&D China, Mr. Chris Pipe, as well as local authorities.