Nestlé unveils latest global Institute of Agricultural sciences facilities

A key sector development has been confirmed by Nestlé, which has just officially inaugurated its Swiss-based Institute of Agricultural Sciences, targeting advancement of sustainable food systems, including applications serving confectionery and snacks markets, writes Neill Barston.

According to the company, the new facility will be focused on screening and develop solutions in core areas of focus including such as plant science (which has been a notable segment for better-for-you sweets), as well as farming systems and dairy livestock.

In addition to its new facilities at Nestlé Research in Switzerland, the institute incorporates an existing plant science research unit in France, and farms based in Ecuador, Côte d’Ivoire and Thailand, as well as partnerships with research farms.

Speaking at the recent inauguration, Paul Bulcke, Nestlé Chairman, said: “We have nurtured direct relationships with generations of farmers around the world. To continue providing people with tasty, nutritious and affordable foods, we need to transition together to a more sustainable food system. The new institute will strengthen our expertise and use our global network to support farming communities and protect our planet.”

As the company noted, with global food systems under pressure, there is an urgent need to accelerate new approaches that ensure a sustainable food supply for a growing world population while contributing to farmer livelihoods.

Its latest site builds on the company’s existing plant science expertise in coffee and cocoa, with its plant scientists contributing to work on specific plans covering the two major sectors – its Nestlé Cocoa Plan and Nescafé Plan.

Building on this work, the business added that it is now strengthening this expertise and expanding it to further crops, including pulses and grains. The institute is also working with farmers to trial regenerative agriculture practices to improve soil health and encourage biodiversity. In addition, experts explore novel approaches in dairy farming that have potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the areas of cow feed and manure management.

Jroen Dijkman, Head of Nestlé Institute of Agricultural Sciences, said: “Our goal is to identify the most promising solutions to promote the production of nutritious raw materials while minimizing their environmental impact. We take a holistic approach and look at several factors including impact on yield, carbon footprint, food safety and cost, as well as the viability of scale-up.”

As part of Nestlé’s global R&D network, the institute collaborates closely with external partners including farmers, universities, research organisations, startups and industry partners to assess and develop science-based solutions. The new institute reaffirms the company’s commitment to strengthening Switzerland’s unique innovation ecosystem.

Speaking at the official opening, Valérie Dittli, State Councilor of the Swiss Canton of Vaud, said: “The new institute is strengthening the Canton of Vaud as a centre of excellence for research and education in agriculture and nutrition. It also contributes to the efforts that are underway to support farmers in the face of climate change. Agriculture is at the core of quality nutrition and in the Canton of Vaud we can count on an innovative ecosystem that brings together partners including agricultural professionals, schools for higher education and private research centres such as the one from Nestlé.”


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