VEVEY: Nestlé, the food group, is focusing on innovation, local production and improving the health credentials of its products in a bid to prepare for several long-term trends.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Paul Bulcke, Nestlé's chief executive, reported that approximately 95% of the products it sells around the world are now manufactured locally.
"We don't build structures for weak or strong currencies," he said. "We set ourselves up to work with local materials, which is why we have 470 factories around the world. We are in for the long term."
Other core priorities for the Swiss multinational include creating a "worldwide competency of products". Innovation is central to this process, especially in Europe, where organic growth is muted.
"We are definitely strong believers in true R&D, that we can grow, and has been the base of our growth in Europe," said Bulcke.
Creating healthy new products and modifying existing parts of its portfolio to improve their credentials in this area is also important for Nestlé, even in categories like confectionery.
"Chocolate is an interesting business. It has all sorts of qualities you can mould. Air is a key one - you could build air into chocolate," said Bulcke.
Similarly, the company's Munch chocolate line in India provides an example of the "light snacks" which are selling especially well. Reformulating its Kit Kat chocolate bar has also achieved this objective.
"The Kit Kat that we have in Brazil is not the Kit Kat we had 20 or 40 years ago," Bulcke added. "It is lighter. It is more 'portionable.'"
He further suggested that the company's decision to purchase the pizza business of Kraft Foods in North America can enhance the "lifestyle" of customers, by making food they enjoy healthier than in the past.
"I don't see a contradiction between being a company that wants to be proud of people's healthy lifestyle and having pizza as part of the business," Bulcke said.
Nestlé also believes that categories like bottled water - long the source of criticism by environmentalists - are able to play a constructive role in the lives of consumers.
"The insights of how nutrients interact with the human body - and how we can bring nutritional arguments into the whole portfolio in all of its forms - is important," said Bulcke.
Data sourced from Daily Telegraph; additional content by Warc staff