Nestlé has officially inaugurated the Institute of Agricultural Sciences to help advance sustainable food systems by delivering science-based solutions in agriculture.
"We have nurtured direct relationships with generations of farmers around the world,” said Paul Bulcke, Nestlé chairman. “To continue providing people with tasty, nutritious, and affordable foods, we need to transition together to a more sustainable food system. The new institute will strengthen our expertise and use our global network to support farming communities and protect our planet."
With global food systems under pressure, there is an urgent need to accelerate new approaches that ensure a sustainable food supply for a growing world population, while contributing to farmer livelihoods.
Nestlé experts at the new institute, screen, and develop solutions in key focus areas such as plant science, agricultural systems, and dairy livestock.
It builds on the company's existing plant science expertise in coffee and cocoa. For years, Nestlé plant scientists have been contributing to the company’s sustainable cocoa and coffee sourcing plans, including the recent discovery of more disease and drought-resistant coffee varieties.
Nestlé is now strengthening this expertise and expanding it to further crops, including pulses and grains. The institute is also working with farmers to trial regenerative agriculture practices to improve soil health and encourage biodiversity. In addition, experts explore novel approaches in dairy farming that have potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the areas of cow feed and manure management.
"Our goal is to identify the most promising solutions to promote the production of nutritious raw materials while minimizing their environmental impact,” said Jeroen Dijkman, head of Nestlé Institute of Agricultural Sciences. “We take a holistic approach and look at several factors including impact on yield, carbon footprint, food safety, and cost, as well as the viability of scale-up."
As part of Nestlé's global R&D network, the institute collaborates closely with external partners including farmers, universities, research organizations, startups, and industry partners to assess and develop science-based solutions. The new institute reaffirms the company's commitment to strengthening Switzerland's unique innovation ecosystem.
In addition to its new facilities at Nestlé Research in Switzerland, the institute incorporates an existing plant science research unit in France, and farms based in Ecuador, Côte d'Ivoire and Thailand, as well as partnerships with research farms.