Food giant Nestlé has inaugurated a new research and development centre in Santiago, Chile, as it seeks to focus on consumers in Latin America.
The company hopes to develop nutritious, affordable, and sustainable products that are relevant to local consumers and strengthen collaborations with universities, start-ups and entrepreneurs across Latin America.
Laurent Freixe, Nestlé CEO of Latin America, said, "The opening of this world-class research and development centre in Santiago is a strong signal of Nestlé's commitment to Latin America after more than 100 years of presence in the region.
"Nestlé continues to invest and expand its footprint, now in the area of science and technology, to bring innovative food and beverage solutions adapted to the lifestyle and needs of Latin American families."
The New Centre
The centre will see approximately 30 research and development employees working across several product categories, with a strong focus on strategic areas, such as plant-based foods, solutions for affordable nutrition, nutritious and sustainable dairy products, quality chocolate products and biscuits and coffee innovations.
The research and development centre includes a co-working space, a kitchen for rapid prototyping and bench-scale laboratories.
It will host a new regional Nestlé R+D Accelerator, where the company's so-called 'intrapreneurs' in Latin America can develop new product concepts and test them in a retail environment in six months, the food giant noted.
The R+D Accelerator will also strengthen the collaboration with Latin American entrepreneurs and student teams, providing access to the company's global and local R&D expertise and infrastructure.
Aline Mór, head of the new centre, said, "Our location in Santiago, puts us at the heart of a vibrant innovation ecosystem in Latin America which enables us to work even more closely with local start-ups, academia and suppliers.
"We are also surrounded by state-of-the-art production facilities across product categories, which allows us to test new products quickly. Additionally, our location is in the same building as the Nestlé Chile headquarters, which creates various new synergies with our local teams."
Focus On Innovation
Most recently, Nestlé launched a coffee machine with paper-based home compostable capsules for Nescafé Dolce Gusto Neo in Brazil.
The company is also piloting a new concept for nutritious and affordable plant-based protein blends under the Malher brand in Guatemala.
Last year, Nestlé plant scientists announced the discovery of low-carbon coffee varieties, with up to 50% higher yields that are being grown by farmers in Central America as part of the Nescafé Plan.
Each year, Nestlé invests about CHF 1.7 billion (€1.7 billion) in its global research and development network, which is present in 23 locations around the world.