COLOMBIA – Swiss multinational food giant, Nestlé, will invest US$100 million over the next three years in its Colombian operations, President Gustavo Petro said, building on US$13 million already spent in strengthening its presence and operations in the South American country.

The Colombian government, which is fostering industrialization, said in a statement, the new funds will be focused on increasing production capacity and updating technology, becoming a timely push to boost its plans.

“Industrializing Colombia is essential if we want to get out of poverty,” Petro wrote on Twitter.

According to Reuters, the statement quoted Nestlé’s CEO of Zone Latin America, Laurent Freixe, as saying that the plan will allow the company to strengthen its product portfolio as well as align with some of the government’s priorities, such as promoting youth employment.

The investment will follow the inauguration of a new Research & Development (R&D) Center for Latin America in Santiago, Chile, to innovate for and with consumers in the region while leveraging the company’s global science and technology capabilities.

The investment and creation of the new center are in line with the company’s geographical set-up, which since 2022 has included a new Zone Latin America.

The new R&D center bolstered Nestlé’s longstanding presence in Chile, which already includes a dedicated R&D team for biscuits in Santiago, Chile, some recent innovations including the launch of the next-generation of coffee systems with paper-based home compostable capsules for Nescafé Dolce Gusto Neo in Brazil.

Brazil is the first market globally where Nestlé produces and markets this innovation. The company is also piloting a new concept for great-tasting, nutritious and affordable plant-based protein blends under the Malher brand in Guatemala.

Last year, Nestlé plant scientists announced the discovery of low-carbon coffee varieties, with up to 50% higher yields that are being grown first by farmers in Central America in the frame of the Nescafé Plan.

Stefan Palzer, Nestlé Chief Technology Officer, during the inauguration of the center said: “We are convinced about the great potential of Latin America, as a market but also as a source of inspiration in food innovation.”

“We want to innovate closer to consumers in the region while leveraging our latest science and technology and local production sites. That’s why we have decided to set up an R&D center in Santiago, to work closely with Nestlé’s global R&D organization and the region’s leading universities and start-ups, to drive growth in Latin America, and beyond.”

Each year, Nestlé says it invests about CHF 1.7 billion in its global Research and Development network, which consists of 23 locations around the world.

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