Food and drinks giant Nestlé have announced they’re building a new institute to develop innovative and greener agricultural technology.
The new Institute of Agricultural Sciences is part of the company’s aim to be net zero by 2050, and to transition to a regenerative food system.
The prime areas of research in the new space will be in plant science, agricultural systems and dairy farming, where they’ll develop the texture, flavour and nutritional qualities of foods as well as reduce the ecological impact of using agricultural raw materials.
With regards to plant science, the company will continue to research grains and pulses, as well as other crops, that could be fitting alternatives to meat, dairy, and fish.
Jeroen Dijkman, Head of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences, said: “At the institute we will screen a wide variety of science-based agricultural solutions and assess their potential for reducing the environmental footprint of key agricultural raw materials. Together with our research and industry partners we want to bring the most promising approaches and solutions to farmers and contribute to their transition to regenerative practices with scalable and impactful applications.”
Nestlé will partner with other farmers, start-ups, research groups, universities, as well as industry partners, to create new innovative solutions for use in the company’s supply chain.
One of these partnerships includes the ongoing research program with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETHZ Zurich, which aims to lower the level of carbon emissions in creating agricultural raw materials.
The new site will also allow Nestlé to continue several established agricultural science projects, including their Cocoa Plan and Nescafé Plan, which both aim to find more sustainable ways of sourcing cocoa and coffee. Recent research has allowed for the discovery of high-yield and disease-resistant coffee beans.
They will also try to reduce food waste within the value chain by using raw materials and side streams in food production (such as fruit peel and leaves), which would otherwise be discarded.
The company’s new institute will be based in Lausanne, Switzerland, only 18.5 km fromNestlé’s headquarters in Vevey. It is expected to be opened later this year.
As well as the new space in Lausanne, the institute will partner with Nestlé’s plant science unit in Tours, France, as well as its other farms in Thailand, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, and Switzerland, which focus on dairy, cocoa, and coffee research.
Isabelle Bureau-Franz, Head of Nestlé Research, said: “The work in agricultural sciences will complement our broad expertise at Nestlé Research, ranging from food safety to health science, material science and packaging. We will leverage our scientific breadth to drive holistic approaches, contributing to concrete solutions and innovation applied throughout the value chain, including in products.”