Global food and beverage giant Nestle officially inaugurated its new Research & Development (R&D) Center for Latin America in Santiago, Chile this week, marking an expansion of its innovation capabilities in the region.
The facility will develop new food and beverage products that appeal to consumers in the region, as well as support collaborations with universities, startups, and entrepreneurs in Latin America.
“The opening of this world-class research and development center in Santiago is a strong signal of Nestle’s commitment to Latin America after more than 100 years of presence in the region,” Laurent Freixe, chief executive officer of Zone Latin America for Nestle, said in a company release. “Nestle 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.”
About 30 R&D staff members will focus on several product categories, including growth categories like plant-based foods, affordable nutrition, coffee innovations, and high-quality chocolate products and biscuits. Nestle’s Santiago site houses a co-working space, a rapid prototyping kitchen, and bench-scale labs.
"We are convinced about the great potential of Latin America, as a market but also as a source of inspiration in food innovation,” said Nestle Chief Technology Officer Stefan Palzer in a statement. “We want to innovate closer to consumers in the region, while leveraging our latest science and technology and local production sites. That's why we have decided to set up an R&D center in Santiago, to work closely with the Nestlé's global R&D organization and the region's leading universities and start-ups, to drive growth in Latin America, and beyond."
The location will also be home to a new regional Nestle R+D Accelerator develops product concepts and tests them in retail environments in six months.
"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,” remarked Aline Mór, head of the new center. “Additionally, our location is in the same building as the Nestlé Chile headquarters, which creates various new synergies with our local teams."