September 14, 2022

Nestlé announced this week that it is exploring emerging technologies for the development of animal-free dairy protein-based products to further its reach with animal free dairy proteins through its recently inaugurated US R+D Accelerator.

The Swiss food manufacturer has taken a keen interest in plant-based meat and dairy alternative offerings over the years to meet the growing consumer demand for nutritious, more environmentally friendly diets that also taste great.

Nestlé will pilot a novel product through the company’s newly established U.S. R+D Accelerator, bringing it to the US market later this year as a test-and-learn. The product is made with animal-free protein from Perfect Day.

According to California-based Perfect Day, the protein, made through precision fermentation, is identical to the whey protein found in cow’s milk, offers good nutritional and functionality benefits that is suitable for vegans and is lactose-free.

The product was developed by Nestlé R&D teams in Switzerland. With expertise in both great-tasting nutritious dairy and plant-based dairy alternatives, the company is well-equipped to deliver a relevant consumer solution in this emerging space in collaboration with start-ups and other external partners.

Heike Steiling, head of Nestlé’s development centre for dairy products, commented: “As the world’s largest food and beverage company, delivering foods and beverages that are good for people and the planet is a priority. We are exploring emerging technologies that can lead to animal-friendly alternatives that are nutritious and sustainable, without compromising on taste, flavour, and texture. Bringing together our unmatched R&D expertise, innovation capabilities and scale, we are working to develop and test novel animal-free dairy protein-based products to complement our wide-ranging portfolio of plant-based alternatives.”

The recently created US R+D Accelerator is focused on identifying opportunities and aims to bring highly differentiated product concepts to the market in only six months.

“We are excited to pilot Nestlé’s first animal-free dairy protein-based products through our US R+D Accelerator,” said Joanna Yarbrough, head of the R+D Accelerator. “While this category is still very young, we know consumers are looking for products that have a reduced environmental footprint, and we are evaluating this avenue as a future growth opportunity for our business.”

Dairy products remain an important part of Nestlé’s portfolio and provide essential nutrients, especially for young children, while milk production contributes to the economic livelihoods of farmers globally. The brand therefore continues to explore solutions and technologies to make dairy more climate friendly.

Through investing in initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of dairy, launching more plant-based dairy alternatives, while exploring emerging technologies for animal-free dairy proteins, Nestlé will be able to transform its portfolio as a part of its broader commitment to provide food that’s good for people and the planet.

Nestlé R+D Accelerator
Early prototyping at the R+D Accelerator. Credit: Nestlé

Nestlé R+D Accelerator

The Accelerator unites Nestlé scientists, start-ups and students to develop science and technology with the aim of speeding up advancements among innovative systems and products. Dedicated hot desks are available at The Accelerator for internal, external and mixed teams to use over an agreed period of time. They can also access Nestlé’s R&D expertise and infrastructure, including shared labs, kitchens, bench-scale and pilot-scale equipment.

Part of the company’s global R&D network, The Accelerator is positioned at the company’s fundamental research entity Nestlé Research. The branch employs some 4,000 people across the globe and is at the centre of a unique innovation ecosystem with a high density of expertise in Food and Nutrition. This includes multiple units of the R&D organisation, leading academic institutions and a large range of innovation partners, start-ups and suppliers.

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