Chris Johnson, chief executive officer for zone Asia, Oceania and Sub-Saharan Africa for Nestlé, said, "All food is local. If you want to be successful in our business, you need a good understanding of the flavors people love, the dishes they want to serve to their families, the food trends they want to try. That's why it's so important to have a research and development team in Singapore, here in the heart of South East Asia, a center of excellence driving innovation and product development in Asia, for Asia."
To further strengthen the center's innovation capabilities, Nestlé upgraded the R&D facilities to feature labs, experimental kitchens, consumer testing, sensory evaluations rooms, open working spaces, as well as Nestlé's fundamental research hub. The company said this will enable faster translation of science into products for people, across all life stages.
The upgraded facilities also include a new regional R&D Accelerator, part of Nestlé's global R&D Accelerator network. It provides a platform for start-ups, students, and Nestlé employees in the region to develop and test novel concepts in less than six months. They will have access to Nestlé's R&D, co-working spaces, and small to medium-scale production equipment to facilitate the rapid upscaling of products for a test launch in real market conditions.
Thomas Hauser, head of global product and technology development for Nestlé, said, "Our R&D center in Singapore has a long history of developing innovative products for South East Asia that are inspired by the cultural diversity and different local cuisines. Upgrading the center with state-of-the-art facilities including the new R&D Accelerator is proof of our long-term commitment to the region. We will also be able to respond to food and beverage trends and challenges more quickly and efficiently."
Over the years, the R&D center has contributed to the innovation of many products across brands such as coffee mixes, powdered beverages such as Milo, culinary products, plant-based foods & beverages and ice-cream.
For example, local staff developed a range of Nescafé Gold non-dairy lattes in eight months, which are now available in more than 20 countries. This knowledge was also leveraged for the launch of Starbucks’ plant-based Silky Soy Latte and Toasted Oat Lattes.
R&D Singapore also supports the development of plant-based meal solutions for both retail and out-of-home for the Harvest Gourmet brand. They ensure products are adapted for Asian consumers, using local cuisine applications such as dumplings, stir fry, braising, katsudon, and more.
The R&D center in Singapore is part of Nestlé's global R&D organization, which consists of 23 locations around the world.