With a global network of 29 research and development (R&D) centres, Nestlé has recently announced its plans to establish its 30th R&D centre in India. The facility will be built in Manesar, close to Nestlé India’s headquarters in Gurgaon, and will be operational by July 2012. The company has planned an investment of around Rs 230 crore in developing the centre, which will have an area of around 2,00,000 sq.ft.
The new centre will focus on popularly positioned products (PPPs), especially for India. PPPs are the ones that meet the specific needs of consumers with lower income levels, by offering them high-quality, nutritionally enhanced products at affordable prices. “Nestlé India has benefited from its global R&D network, with innovative PPPs such as Maggi Noodles and Chotu Munch chocolate confectionery,” said Antonio Helio Wasyzk, CMD, Nestlé India, while making the announcement.
“This new centre will facilitate innovation in a wide variety of foods, including culinary, cereals beverages and dairy products,” said Klaus Zimmermann, head of Nestlé R&D centres worldwide.
“Nestlé India is the country’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company. Our continuous access to Nestlé’s global R&D has significantly contributed to our performance and Nestlé’s decision to establish an R&D centre in India will provide additional competitive advantage in the future. It will help us to accelerate the company’s growth and contribute towards reducing nutritional deficiencies in India,” said Wasyzk.
Highlighting the importance of R&D in the company’s growth, he shared last year over a third of all Nestlé sales came from the innovations launched since 2007.
Revealing further details, Zimmermann said, “The site has been chosen for its proximity to Nestlé India’s headquarters. The proximity will help in facilitating cross-functional team work and ensure the R&D programme is relevant. The centre in India will initially have a team of about 40 scientists and engineers and we expect this number to grow significantly in the coming years.”
The Manesar R&D centre will work in collaboration with Nestlé’s research centres in Switzerland and Singapore, the product technology centre in Germany and the centre facilitating research in the Unites States. Besides, the centre will also work in association with Indian universities and research institutes in order to expand its knowledge-base and fast-track innovation.
Sharing Nestlés approach towards the much debated genetically modified (GM) food ingredients, Zimmermann said, “We have always followed the policies accepted by consumers in their respected countries and we will do the same in India as well. However, we are open to the use of GM foods/crops as we feel that in the long run this technology will provide food security.”
Apart from the plans for the R&D centre, Wasyzk said the company was investing around Rs 350 crore in building up a manufacturing unit for noodles in Karnataka “and in the future we plan to open more such factories”.