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Nestlé USA expands commitment to innovation in food industry

Published 22 June 2017

Nestlé USA has entered into a partnership with Rabobank and RocketSpace to support startups for the Terra Food + Ag Tech Accelerator program.

Nestlé will collaborate with Terra and other corporate collaborators to select and coach some of the most innovative and disruptive startups in the food and agricultural industry.

"We're experiencing a seismic shift in the food industry, and our partnership with Terra by Rabobank and RocketSpace is just one way in which Nestlé can play a leading role in meeting quickly evolving consumer expectations and explore new disruptive technologies and business models," said Rui Barbas, chief strategy officer, Nestlé USA.

"When we combine the resources of Nestlé with the creativity and new thinking born from the startup culture, we can create real change in our industry and best deliver on consumer needs."

From within the largest food and beverage company in the world, Nestlé maintains a deep focus on innovation, leveraging the strength of its brands and power of research and development to lead the industry and meet consumer expectations. Tackling innovation from multiple angles, Nestlé also taps into new thinking from outside the organization to keep at the forefront of a rapidly changing market to deliver on its nutrition, health and wellness promises.

In 2013, Nestlé launched the Silicon Valley Innovation Outpost (SVIO) in one of the most innovative hubs in the world – the San Francisco Bay Area. Here, an experienced and cross-functional marketing and technical team works with promising early-stage entrepreneurs to rapidly build, test and deploy new value-added services and solutions for their consumers around the world.

"Our goals at the SVIO include providing entrepreneurs with access to the expertise and nutritional know-how that Nestlé has developed over its 150-year history," said Mark Brodeur, vice president of digital innovation, Nestlé. "In exchange, Nestlé will have the ability to learn from and co-create with creative entrepreneurs. That's why partnerships like ours with Terra make so much sense for both Nestlé and those with whom we collaborate."

"Our partnership with Nestlé builds on its 150-year history of continuously seeking ways to contribute to a healthier future, not only through its products, but in the way it conducts business globally," said Duncan Logan, RocketSpace CEO. "Through its commitment to open innovation, Nestlé is adopting and driving new progressive strategies to address the profound changes shaping the food and beverage industry today."

Terra enables innovation by connecting large global brands like Nestlé with startups to work on real-life product testing and go-to-market solutions. Nestlé was attracted to Terra because of the success and experience of Terra co-creators, RocketSpace and Rabobank. Terra immerses participants in the innovation process, helps guide their products' evolution and provides real-time feedback throughout pilot testing.

"The complementary capabilities of everyone involved are extremely exciting," said Manuel Gonzalez, Global Head of F&A Innovation at Rabobank. "Combining Nestlé's expertise in nutrition, health and wellness with RocketSpace's well-known accelerator acumen within the start-up community and Rabobank's strong involvement in the food and beverage start-up community, we expect dynamic results from the collaboration."

Nestlé expects to support 20 startups over the duration of the two 6-month accelerator programs to explore new and improved ways to produce, sell and distribute food. Nestlé will work with a diverse cross-section of startups, selected from more than 1,000 applicants, with the goal of finding healthier and more sustainable products and services that enhance the quality of people's lives. 

The first of two Nestlé-hosted Terra programs will be selected in fall 2017. The call for applications for the second cohort will be open in early 2018.



Source: Company Press Release