Nestlé invests in health and wellness

Nestlé has established a $600 million fund to buy companies with products or processes in the final testing stage or about to come on the market. The Nestlé Growth Fund, due to be operational in the first quarter of 2006, will see Nestlé investing in new science and nutrition businesses it hopes can be integrated into the world?s biggest food company?s operations.

?The money will be invested over a period of five to seven years with the aim of identifying companies that could contribute to Nestlé?s expansion into health, wellness and nutrition, and helping them grow to a size that would make it possible to integrate them into our network,? said spokesperson François-Xavier Perroud. ?Consumers now have a higher demand for quality, safety, health and well being. The Growth Fund is our response to those demands.?

Nestlé is particularly keen to target consumers over 50. ?Consumers are growing older and have specific nutritional needs. It is our task to respond to these by manufacturing products targeted at obesity, diabetes and other age-related illnesses,? said Perroud.

The move follows the company?s investment in research into the molecular structure of foods. ?The Soft Condensed Matter Physics Program will contribute to the understanding of physical properties of natural proteins, lipids, polysaccharides and colloids, such as casein micelles in milk,? Nestlé?s food scientists said. ?It could improve quality and health-related food attributes, such as texture, flavour profiles and the targeted delivery of functional molecules.?

Fellow food giant Heinz has also recently committed to spending more on new product innovation and packaging.

Ingredients supplier DSM announced it will boost R&D spending, make acquisitions and focus its resources on new technologies to achieve a $1 billion-plus sales boost in five years. This includes an emphasis on ?personalised nutrition.?

Cargill?s Juice Beverage Applications, previously specialising in fruit blending and supplying raw materials, has repositioned itself as a one-stop R&D shop for beverage makers interested in how flavours and functional ingredients behave in compounds or finished products.

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