Nestlé chief executive Mark Schneider has said that the company's shift in focus towards health and wellness will be a "key pillar" of the business going forward.
Nestlé has made a number of acquisitions in the health and wellness space in recent months, including functional beverage brand Nuun, the core brands of The Bountiful Company, and water brand Essentia, and Schneider noted that this is likely to continue, even as the coronavirus pandemic subsides.
"This has been a strategic plan for a number of years and will continue to be one," he said. "It got a one time shot in the arm as a result of COVID, but even if you leave that out, you see a fairly consistent growth pattern over the years – mid single digit at the very least and in some economies far more than that.
"This is not just a short term tactical reaction to COVID. Frankly, when you acquire a business, you're paying for many years to come, you're not paying for what happens in just one or two years. The long term prospects are going to be really important."
Schneider was commenting during the Day Two of the Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit, which is taking place in a virtual setting this year.
Internal Nestlé Document
Earlier this month, the company hit the headlines after an internal document on the health credentials of its portfolio was revealed by the Financial Times.
According to the newspaper, the document found that more than 60% of Nestlé's food and drinks portfolio could not be considered healthy under a 'recognised definition of health'.
Nestlé has since stated that it is working on a 'company-wide' project to update its health and nutrition strategy, including continuing to reduce sugar and salt in its products.
Commenting at the Summit, Schneider added that Nestlé's health push would also go beyond product development and acquisitions.
"We opportunities to contribute to better health and wellness," he said. "We also see new and interesting technology, to enable us to further personalise for example, or increase effectiveness."
Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit
Day Two of the Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit also saw presentations from Daniel Zhang, chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group, Frans Muller of Ahold Delhaize, Brian McNamara of GSK Consumer Healthcare, Laxman Narasimhan of Reckitt, James Quincey of The Coca-Cola Company and Judith McKenna of Walmart International, among others.
From a health perspective, there was also an analysis of the success of the Forum's Collaboration for Healthier Lives (CHL) project, which recently has sought to deliver health and wellness solutions to underprivileged consumers during the pandemic.
“For us to be successful demands that we create solutions that reach everyone inclusively, particularly those that are the most vulnerable,” commented Marcus Osborne, Senior Vice President of Health & Wellness Transformation at Walmart and Co-Chair of CHL.