Nestlé is strengthening its leadership in research and development by enlarging its global Product Technology Centre for confectionery, based in the United Kingdom.
New confectionery products are developed and existing ones are reformulated at the centre in the city of York, but it doesn’t end there.
Nestlé Product Technology Centres have two roles. The first is to develop breakthrough technologies; building blocks that are the basis of new product development. New textures and flavors are created as well as improved nutritional profiles.
The second is to deploy these technologies to the company’s operations.
They can be used in Nestlé’s factories around the world to ensure its confectionery products are being produced in the safest and most effective way, while meeting the constantly changing needs of consumers.
Young talent is recruited and trained at the centre in York before being assigned to Nestlé's operations or its research and development centers.
“Confectionery is an exciting business which moves at a rapid pace,” said Stefan Palzer, the centre’s director.
“This expansion will allow us to accelerate and intensify confectionery product development, using sustainable and high quality raw materials, innovative manufacturing processes and reliable and efficient equipment.”
At the centre, ideas for new products are developed and tested right through from processing raw ingredients such as cocoa, to manufacturing, to packaging.
Teams of technologists, scientists, engineers, food chemists, confectioners, nutritionists and packaging specialists work to develop new chocolate products, as well as fruit and wafer-based confectionery products.
They also work on different coatings and chocolate ingredients for ice cream products.
At the heart of the centre is a miniature factory, a ‘pilot plant’, which will be extended as part of the investment program.
This is where Nestlé confectionery specialists and engineers develop and test technologies, manufacturing processes and equipment before they are used in the company’s factories worldwide.
There is also a cutting-edge sensory testing facility for the tasting of prototypes and finished products, which will also be extended.
In this area, panels of experienced confectionery tasters evaluate products on a variety of sensory factors, such as smell, or bitterness or sweetness, and taste preference.
The centre’s extension has been designed to minimize waste of materials such as water, carbon dioxide, and energy while maximizing output.
This will be done according to the principles of ‘lean construction’, a global standard for designing and constructing more efficient and environmentally sustainable production systems.
Nestlé in York
Following Nestlé’s acquisition of York-based Rowntree Macktinosh in 1988, the city has played an important role in the company’s development and manufacture of confectionery products.
Nestlé’s York factory produces popular confectionery brands including Kit Kat, Aero, and Milky Bar.
“York has a long and rich heritage in the world of chocolate and confectionery,” added Mr. Palzer.
“The city’s early confectionery companies pioneered the ideas and technology to produce quality products on a mass scale, a tradition which Nestlé continues today.”