When thinking about the future, in business, most turn their eyes to larger and future-oriented enterprises to understand their moves. Often, the difference between a world leader and other players is having the analytical tools needed to foresee and understand new trends. In the food industry, one of the companies on which to “keep an eye” is definitely Nestlè which, for size and innovative capacity, continues to be a trailblazer. If we look closer at the investment and strategies of the giant from Vevey, we’ll notice that there are two clear guidelines that are drivers of the group’s development strategy. One of the company’s most charismatic historical leaders tells us about the first one, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, whose intuitions, 17 years ago, kicked off the transformation of the first food manufacturer in the world: from a mere ‘food producer’ to a ‘wellness company’. I was convinced,” he writes in his essay titled ‘Nutrition for a Better Life’ that in the next 20 years the subject of health would drive the next wave of innovation in the food industry. The food of the future will be a weapon against the most serious diseases. Therefore, in 2000, Brabeck reorganized his wellness company based on three pillars: traditional food production, pharmaceutical production, and cosmetics and personal care. Three worlds that share a profound synergy with each other and a long-term common goal: to offer consumers a more personalized diet that is increasingly capable of preventing diseases. At the same time, however, Nestlè has followed a second investment trend which involved, in particular, its Italian brands. Given the value and enormous potential of our domestic production, the Swiss giant had no hesitation in making important investments in important Italian icon brands, such as Perugina and Sanpellegrino (a 200 million euro investment made less than a year ago), not to mention Buitoni, on which the group has just spent 48 million euro to transform its plant, in Benevento, into an international hub for the production of pizza. The strategy is clear: plenty of innovation on one side, the enhancement of extraordinary local food excellence on the other. In Italy, after all, it is not uncommon for these two factors to go hand in hand. Italy has several small and medium producers that offer great products and boast flexible structures capable of responding to the demands of foreign markets and international chains with innovative and rapid solutions. Once again, focusing on Italian food is a winning choice. Nestlè’s word.
Maria Cristina Alfieri