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How Nestlé R&D boost expansion of affordable nutrition in Africa

 

By Divine Nwaoguji-Nweke

Concerned about dearth of affordable nutrition and the crisis of affordable nutrition that would follow coronavirus pandemic, Nestle has launched nutritious products for consumers in Africa.

Tesfalidet Haile, Head of Nestlé’s R&D Center in Abidjan, who made this known, admitted that “The current COVID-19 crisis around the world will lead to a further lack of affordable nutritious foods for many vulnerable consumers. We are increasing our efforts to address affordability by rapidly developing, testing, and launching safe, high-quality, affordable, nutritious products that meet the needs of Sub-Saharan African consumers.”

The action, noted Nestle, became imperative in view of challenging for many consumers worldwide. As a result Nestlé is accelerating its efforts to develop more affordable nutritious products for consumers, particularly those in emerging countries. This enables the company to improve its product offerings for lower-income families, many of whom live on a few dollars a day, often resulting in a lack of essential nutrients in their daily diet.

One example is the recent launch of Nestlé Cerevita Instant Sour Porridge, an affordable nutritious solution for Southeast African consumers. It is made with wholegrain cereals and fortified with key micronutrients, which are typically lacking in local consumer diets. The porridge has a higher fiber and protein content and costs about 20-25% less than the similar products available in local markets.

The porridge, according to Haile, was developed and launched in about one year by scientists at Nestlé’s R&D Center in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, in collaboration with cross-functional teams from Southeast African markets. The R&D center leveraged its science and technology capabilities to develop a porridge that is adapted to local consumer taste preferences and nutritional requirements while minimizing production costs to ensure affordability.

The porridge  was developed with high-quality, locally and sustainably sourced ingredients, while leveraging existing roller drying and dry-mixing technologies.  Nestlé packaging experts also worked alongside local suppliers to develop an affordable, recyclable laminate packaging, which protects the product throughout the shelf-life.

The porridge was first launched in July in Zimbabwe in a limited number of stores, with a nationwide launch and rollout in more countries planned for later this year.

Nestlé’s R&D Center in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire is part of the global Nestlé R&D network, which consists of 23 locations worldwide. The center has food technologists, scientists, and engineers who primarily specialize in the innovation of cereal, dairy, snack, and beverage solutions. It also collaborates with local universities and innovation partners.  Last year, Nestlé launched an R&D innovation challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa, which saw three start-ups embark on a 4-month residency in the Nestlé R&D Accelerator for Sub-Saharan Africa, located at the R&D Center in Abidjan.

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