Nestlé expands its agricultural science expertise with the establishment of a new research institute

Published on: 09 February 2022
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Nestlé's net zero roadmap and the transition to a regenerative food system require changes in agricultural raw material production and sourcing. Nestlé has created the Nestlé Institute of Agricultural Sciences to apply novel agricultural science and identify promising agricultural technologies.

The new institute will focus on plant, dairy, and agricultural systems science. It will assess and combine science-based solutions to improve agricultural raw materials' nutritional and sensorial qualities and environmental impact.

Stefan Palzer, Nestlé CTO, said: 

"Our transition towards a regenerative food system is enabled by agricultural science and new agricultural technologies. The new institute will accelerate the translation of science into concrete solutions that can be implemented at farm level, to support farmers globally in improving their environmental footprint, in reducing food and nutrient losses, and in better adapting to climate change while ensuring the quality of the raw materials they produce."

The institute builds on Nestlé's agricultural expertise and existing programs. Our plant science experts have contributed to the company's sustainable cocoa and coffee sourcing plans, the Nestlé Cocoa Plan and the Nescafé Plan (pdf, 9Mb), including high-yield, drought- and disease-resistant coffee varieties. Nestlé experts are also identifying low-carbon, plant-based alternatives to meat, seafood, and dairy. This emphasis on plant science will be expanded to more crops. The institute will work with external partners to reduce dairy farming emissions, develop regenerative agriculture practices, and improve biodiversity and soil health. The institute will also study new ways to upcycle agricultural side streams to reduce nutrient loss and food waste.

Isabelle Bureau-Franz, Head of Nestlé Research, said: 

"The work in agricultural sciences will complement our broad expertise at Nestlé Research, ranging from food safety to health science, material science and packaging. We will leverage our scientific breadth to drive holistic approaches, contributing to concrete solutions and innovation applied throughout the value chain, including in products."

The institute will work closely with academic institutions and research organizations, start-ups, industry partners, and farmers to assess and develop science-based solutions and adapt them for implementation and scale-up across the company's supply chain. It will use new and existing collaborations, such as ETHZ's research program, to reduce agricultural products' carbon footprint.

IAS Director Jeroen Dijkman said:

"At the institute, we'll screen science-based agricultural solutions to reduce the environmental footprint of key agricultural raw materials. Together with our research and industry partners, we want to bring farmers the most promising approaches and solutions to help them transition to regenerative practices."

As part of Nestlé's global research organization, the institute will be based in state-of-the-art facilities in Lausanne, Switzerland. It includes the company's plant science unit in France and cocoa, coffee, and dairy research farms in Ecuador, Côte d'Ivoire, Thailand, and Switzerland.

Nestlé invests CHF 1.7 billion annually in R&D, employing more than 4,000 people on 23 sites worldwide, to accelerate the innovation of science-based products across life stages.

Source: Nestle news

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