It is part of Nestlé’s global R+D Accelerator network, which was launched in 2019. The R+D Accelerator provides a platform for startups, students and Nestlé intrapreneurs to bring highly differentiated innovations to the market fast.
The internal and external teams have full access to Nestlé’s infrastructure and science, technology and business knowledge. Using early trends, differentiating technologies and scientific discoveries as sources of inspiration, the teams develop innovative product solutions in a six-month immersive ‘idea to shop’ program.
They can consult with Nestlé’s R&D employees from around the world such as food technologists, nutritionists, regulatory and food safety personnel, designers and packaging staff. Each team also receives hands-on support from dedicated innovation coaches and mentoring from Nestlé’s senior management.
“We give internal and external entrepreneurs full access to all the expertise and infrastructure they need to translate their idea into a product – from analytical labs, experimental kitchens, to prototyping and production facilities – and we help them test their innovations in real-market conditions,” said Tom Wagner, head of the Nestlé R+D Accelerator program.
Nestlé’s global R+D Accelerator network consists of 12 sites in eight different countries. Each Accelerator is located at a Nestlé R&D site and focuses on a specific product category or region. Nestlé has accelerators at its R&D centers for dairy, nutrition, coffee, confectionery or food products. Regional accelerators in China, India, the US, ASEAN and Sub-Saharan Africa work with local start-ups and students to develop innovations relevant to their regions.
The newly-inaugurated site in Lausanne is the industry’s largest Accelerator, covering 4,000 m2 with a variety of co-working stations, prototyping kitchens and mini-production facilities. It can host up to 10 teams simultaneously.
“At our R+D Accelerators we combine the creativity and entrepreneurship of students, start-ups and intrapreneurs with Nestlé’s extensive scientific and technological expertise. The initiative creates learning opportunities for both internal and external talents, builds competencies and fosters an entrepreneurial culture across our sites. It is great to see the passion and excitement of the teams as they go from an idea to a test launch in just a few months, overcoming many different challenges along the way!” said Stefan Palzer, Nestlé chief technology officer.
Since 2019, 165 participants have participated in the R+D Accelerator program and almost 80 products have been tested in 18 countries. Recent launches include the pea-based milk alternative Wunda, as well as science-based nutritional concepts.