Nestlé accelerator to drive dairy and alternatives from idea to market in six months
29 Sep 2020 --- Nestlé has launched a new platform for innovation, bringing together start-ups, students and scientists to leverage the F&B giant’s dairy and plant protein expertise in rapid time.
The R&D Accelerator, located at Nestlé's R&D center in Konolfingen, Switzerland, aims to drive sustainable dairy products’, as well as plant-based dairy alternatives’, speed-to-market.
“Our goal is to provide start-ups, students and Nestlé scientists with key resources to quickly explore new ideas through a six-month test and learn approach,” says Thomas Hauser, head of global product and technology development at Nestlé.
“By tapping into our expertise in food science, food safety, regulatory, manufacturing processes and packaging, they can rapidly upscale and test new products in real market conditions,” he adds.
Agile innovation will allow the multinational to adapt to sudden changes in consumer preferences. Recently, consumer behavior has fluctuated during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in companies launching unusual hybrids to grab consumer interest.
The R&D Accelerator in Konolfingen features a fully equipped test kitchen, as well as a co-working office space.
Internal, external and mixed teams will leverage Nestlé's capabilities to bring novel ideas from concept to test shop in only six months.
They will have access to Nestlé expertise and key equipment such as small to medium scale production equipment to facilitate the rapid upscaling of products for a test launch in a retail environment.
Nestlé’s R&D Konolfingen is an integral part of the Swiss innovation ecosystem. It is the company's largest R&D center for dairy products and plant-based dairy alternatives. The center develops new product concepts for Nestlé’s dairy and infant nutrition businesses before they are introduced to global consumers.
“Innovation in milk products and plant-based dairy alternatives is core to Nestlé's portfolio strategy, as well as our sustainability agenda. We have set ambitious climate goals. This is part of our promise to develop products that are good for you and good for the planet,” says Mark Schneider, Nestlé CEO.
Last week during Climate Week 2020, Nestlé announced a slew of sustainability initiatives including the ambition to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Giants gain agility
Lengthy R&D-to-market processes are one of the disadvantages that FMCG giants face when compared to start-ups. In response, companies are moving smarter to drive innovation.
In a previous interview with FoodIngredientsFirst, Caroline Bijkerk, global partnerships manager at StartLife, detailed the crucial role start-ups play in helping big corporations bring key trends, such as sustainability and personalized nutrition, to consumers.
This year, Coca-Cola revealed its Transformational Innovation team with the aim to achieve speed-to-market through leveraging an “agile, test-and-learn launch model.”
Last year, AAK also opened its latest Customer Innovation Center, in Richmond, California, to support co-development work with multiple industry segment-focused labs.
By Missy Green
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