Nestlé is opening its first research and development centre in India to further its understanding of Indian consumers, traditional ingredients and local cuisine, and to provide scientific and technological expertise to the rest of its global business.
The centre, which will specialise in Asian noodles and Indian cooking, will focus on developing highly nutritious, affordable products in appropriate serving sizes for lower income consumers.
Researchers will gain expertise in the use of local ingredients and culinary traditions – work Nestlé expects to be a source of new ideas for products.
The company has invested CHF 50 million in the centre, which is located in Manesar close to Nestlé India’s headquarters in Gurgaon.
“Our R&D centre in India will help us gain important insights into local consumers’ eating habits and taste preferences, as well as greater expertise in using and processing local ingredients to develop products for India and beyond,” said Paul Bulcke, Nestlé’s Chief Executive Officer, at the inauguration event.
“As with all Nestlé’s R&D centres, it will be part of our worldwide R&D network, enabling us to acquire local knowledge and use it on a global scale,” Mr Bulcke added.
“R&D India will work closely with our other R&D facilities across the world, contributing to our existing knowledge base, and providing new opportunities for innovation and for the growth of our business,” explained Johannes Baensch, Nestlé’s Global Head of Research and Development.
It will also nurture local talent. Nestlé will recruit the majority of employees from the excellent pool of talented science and engineering graduates in this region.
“They will be part of our global workforce, sharing knowledge with their colleagues worldwide, and have opportunities to work with our R&D operations in other countries,” he added.
Nestlé’s investment in India reflects its long-term commitment to strengthening its R&D capability in emerging markets.
Last month the company announced plans to increase the number of R&D facilities it has in China from two to four by 2013.
In total, Nestlé has 32 research and development centres worldwide.
Extend product range
With its new R&D centre in India, Nestlé aims to extend the range of mainstream products it currently offers consumers in the country, particularly in the noodles, cereal, beverage and dairy categories.
The centre will be a source of the latest technological know-how in food processing and manufacturing. It will also provide expertise in extrusion – a process used to give certain foods a specific shape or texture – and in consumer science.
It will develop scientific collaborations with local universities and research institutes in India to strengthen Nestlé’s existing knowledge base and to accelerate innovation.
” Nestlé has been in India for 100 years and has used its global R&D expertise and knowledge of nutrition to develop products that we all love,” said Tariq Anwar, Honourable Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industry.
“I am very happy that Nestlé has now brought its R&D activity even closer to us by setting up a state-of-the-art research centre in Manesar. I am confident that such initiatives will help to develop nutritious and tasty products that will benefit consumers irrespective of their income levels.
“I am also hopeful that Nestlé’s R&D centre in India will improve the exchange of scientific knowledge and accelerate the development of these skills amongst promising talent in India,” the Minister added.
Nestlé in India
Nestlé celebrates its 100th anniversary in India this year. The company’s sales agents first started work in Chennai and Kolkata (Calcutta) in 1912.
Today, Nestlé directly employs 7,000 people in the country.
Its products are sold in around four million outlets across India, including brands such as Maggi, Nescafé and Kit Kat.