Scientists at Nestlé's first Irish Research and Development (R&D) centre, which was officially opened today, are to focus their efforts on investigating nutritional solutions for the first 1,000 days of the lives of newborns.
The launch of the company’s R&D Centre in Askeaton, West Limerick, which employs 40 people, marks the completion of a three-year €27m capital investment building programme, supported by Enterprise Ireland.
It will focus on scientific research to support innovations in the development of milk-based maternal and infant nutrition products for the global market, as well as premium, science-based products for mothers and infants.
The new centre incorporates state-of-the-art laboratory facilities as well as a full pilot-scale manufacturing line to facilitate the development, and testing of new products from initial concept through to product deployment.
Speaking at the launch, Thomas Hauser, Head of Global Product and Technology Development for Nestlé S.A., said: “With this new centre, we will increase the pace of our innovation capacity by enabling our scientists to explore innovative nutritional solutions for the crucial first 1,000 days of life.”
“Our Irish R&D Centre will benefit from Nestlé’s global R&D network and help to position Nestlé at the fore of infant and maternal nutritional product development, one of Nestlé’s most important growth drivers,” he added.
Nestlé has invested about €1.3bn in thirty R&D centres around the world where it employs over 5,000 people.
In Ireland, it employs 750 people, manufacturing over 70 brands across seven categories, including beverage, confectionery, cereals, food, pet care, dairy and infant nutrition.
Officially launching the facility, Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said the centre “is a strategically important investment for Ireland by the world’s largest food and beverage company”.
“We are honoured to have a world-leading research facility that provides a cutting-edge scientific base to develop new products that will bring health benefits to infants, children and mothers worldwide.”
It is a major signal of confidence in the future and quality of the Irish dairy industry.
Head of the Centre, Dan O’Callaghan, said they will collaborate with Universities, Teagasc, and the Agriculture and Food Development Authority “to develop the next wave of innovative nutritional products to meet the demands of future generations”.
Orla Battersby, Head of the Food Division, Enterprise Ireland said it was committed to supporting companies like Nestlé to “delivering export growth for Ireland”.
“Enterprise Ireland is also responsible for attracting Foreign Direct Investment from the global food industry into Ireland and the opening of this new showcase plant reflects highly on the entire Irish dairy sector - pooling together innovation with best-in-class facilities,” she added.