Nestlé creates Swiss R&D Accelerator facility for dairy and plant-based ranges

Swiss-based Nestlé has inaugurated its new R&D Accelerator to drive innovation and speed-to-market of sustainable dairy products, as well as plant-based dairy alternatives, reports Neill Barston

The business has identified the two segments as areas of potential growth, with consumers seeking a broader range of treats that are reflective of on-the-go lifestyles.

Among the firm’s confectionery interests, including its core KitKat brand, contain milk chocolate, as well as the company developing healthier ranges such as its Yes snack bar, contain plant protein.

Located at Nestlé’s R&D centre in Konolfingen, Switzerland, the R&D Accelerator aims to provide a world-class platform for start-ups, students and scientists to leverage its dairy and plant protein expertise to quickly bring products from ideation to commercialisation.

As the business notes, the facility is an integral part of the Swiss innovation ecosystem. It is the company’s largest research and development centre for dairy products and plant-based dairy alternatives. The site develops new product concepts for Nestlé’s dairy and infant nutrition businesses before they are introduced to consumers around the world.

Mark Schneider, Nestlé CEO, said: “Innovation in milk products and plant-based dairy alternatives is core to Nestlé’s portfolio strategy, as well as our sustainability agenda. As a company, we have set ambitious climate goals. This is part of our promise to develop products that are good for you and good for the planet.”

The R&D Accelerator in Konolfingen features a fully equipped test kitchen, as well as a co-working office space. Internal, external and mixed teams will leverage Nestlé’s capabilities to bring novel ideas from concept to test shop in only six months. They will have access to Nestlé expertise and key equipment such as small to medium scale production equipment to facilitate the rapid upscaling of products for a test launch in a retail environment.

Thomas Hauser, Head of Global Product and Technology Development at Nestlé said, “Our goal is to provide start-ups, students and Nestlé scientists with key resources to quickly explore new ideas through a 6-month test and learn approach. By tapping into our expertise in food science, food safety, regulatory, manufacturing processes, and packaging, they can rapidly upscale and test new products in real market conditions.”

The R&D Accelerator in Konolfingen is part of Nestlé’s global R&D Accelerator initiative which was first launched at Nestlé Research in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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