The enhanced facility will be located at the existing Wyeth Nutritionals site in Askeaton, which produces a range of premium powdered milk-based products for infants, young children and mothers for export to world markets.
The proposed extended R&D centre will be a separate new facility within the Wyeth Nutritionals Ireland site when completed.
Global product innovation
The R&D Centre will focus on global product innovation for Nestlé’s Wyeth Nutrition infant and maternal nutrition business and is anticipated to open in late 2017.
It will incorporate laboratory facilities as well as a full pilot-scale manufacturing line to facilitate development and testing of new products from initial concept through to finished product development.
A Nestlé spokesperson told DairyReporter, “The Research and Development team will be working on a range of opportunities to further enhance the nutritional profile of Wyeth Nutrition's range of premium infant formulas and growing-up milks to support the nutritional requirements of infant and young children.
“New ingredients with the potential to enhance the health and well-being of children will be evaluated in prototype formulations, on which clinical studies will be conducted to determine nutritional and health outcomes.”
The spokesperson added that the move would create some new jobs.
“When the extended R&D Centre is open it will employ up 50 staff; increasing from a current base of 39.”
Nestlé’s Wyeth Nutritionals Ireland plant at Askeaton currently employees 650 people, including those in R&D.
Stefan Catsicas, chief technology officer, Nestlé Research, said the center would be an essential part of the Global Nestlé Nutrition R&D network, which employs around 5,000 people.
The spokesperson told DR that the project investment is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland through a capital grant.
Michael Cantwell, director of the Food Division, Enterprise Ireland added, “This is a strategically important investment for Ireland and is a huge vote of confidence in the future of the Irish dairy industry and the research connectedness in Ireland.
"Nestlé’s decision to extend its R&D centre at its manufacturing plant at the Askeaton site is of critical strategic importance and underpins Nestlé’s commitment to its Irish based operations.”
Askeaton, in County Limerick, has a population of around 1,200. The Wyeth Nutrition site is located about 1km north of the town, on the banks of the River Deel.