Food for thought? Nestle taps students and startups in R&D drive

Launched in 2019, Nestle's R&D Accelerator programme has 12 sites in eight countries

  
A sign is pictured at Nestle Waters in Henniez, April 1, 2019.

A sign is pictured at Nestle Waters in Henniez, April 1, 2019.

REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

LAUSANNE, Switzerland- Food group Nestle inaugurated the biggest site for its "R&D Accelerator" programme on Monday, aiming to work with startups and students to speed the development of new products.

The food industry has to be nimble to keep pace with consumers increasingly concerned about their health and the planet, who want to eat products with less meat, salt, sugar and fat, and made from natural, locally sourced ingredients.

Launched in 2019, Nestle's R&D Accelerator programme has 12 sites in eight countries so far. The site inaugurated on Monday, in the Swiss city of Lausanne, can host 20 projects per year.

A group of food technology students there presented their "tempeh", dim sum made from fermented soybeans, while employees showed off an energy drink made from olive leaf powder.

"Many trends are created by startups, they were behind the first plant-based products," Nestle's Chief Technology Officer Stefan Palzer told reporters. "If our people work with them, it creates an innovation culture, it's contagious."

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Pravin Char) ((silke.koltrowitz@thomsonreuters.com; +41 41 528 3638;))


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