Company overview: Nestlé, a global purpose
Nestlé was founded in Switzerland in 1866, today it has grown to be the leading company promoting Nutrition, Health, and Wellness. Nestlé’s purpose is to “unlock the power of food to enhance quality of life for everyone, today and for generations to come”.
In 1874, “NESTLÉ’S EAGLE BRAND®” condensed milk was granted the first trademark in Hong Kong. Today, Nestle Hong Kong has become one of the leading food and beverage companies in Hong Kong and its diversified range of businesses includes dairy products, yoghurt products, breakfast cereal, baby and toddler food, coffee, bottled and canned beverages, confectionary, ice cream and chilled desserts, soya products, culinary, pet care and healthcare nutrition products, etc. This provides consumers with a wide range of options for nutritional, healthy and safe high-quality products.
The social issue: tackling climate change
Climate change is one of the biggest environmental challenges the world faces. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation reported that agricultural emissions accounted for 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. And The Good Food Institute also found in 2019 that plant-based meat emits 30 – 90% less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional meat. Plant-based alternatives also have lower impacts than dairy counterparts across all metrics. According to research, they cause around three times less greenhouse gas emissions; use around ten times less land; two to twenty times less freshwater.
As a signatory of the UN Business Ambition for 1.5°C pledge, Nestlé is one of the first companies to share its detailed, time-bound Net Zero Roadmap in December 2020 and to do so ahead of schedule. The Roadmap aims to support sustainability and help tackle climate change, and one of Nestlé’s key actions is transforming its product portfolio by continuously expanding its offering of low-carbon plant-based food and beverages while reformulating products to make them more environmentally friendly.
In Hong Kong, people are also looking to vary their diets with more plant-based options, to lower their environmental footprint as well as for nutrition or health considerations. As a Good food, Good life company, Nestlé Hong Kong is also continuing to make good on their promise to offer consumers products that are good for them and for the planet.
According to May Chung, General Manager, Nestlé Hong Kong, consumers in Hong Kong are concerned about their environmental footprint as well as nutritional or health considerations. Photo Credit: Nestlé Hong Kong
The shared value strategy
As a leading company in promoting Nutrition, Health and Wellness, Nestlé believes that business benefits and positive societal impact must be mutually reinforcing. This is the core of Creating Shared Value (“CSV”), which is fundamental to how Nestlé does business.
Since 2019, Nestlé has started to introduce different kinds of plant-based products gradually across Europe, Oceania, and Asia. Globally, Nestlé has around 300 R&D scientists, engineers, and product developers dedicated to the research and development of plant-based products. To adapt its products to Asian consumer needs, the company leverages its R&D centers in Singapore, Beijing, China, and elsewhere. The Group has also set up various plant-based production sites all over the world, with two in Asia – Tianjin, China, and Shah Alam, Malaysia.
In Hong Kong, in addition to its renowned soyabean products, the company has also been growing its plant-based portfolio in consideration of local market preference these two years by launching plant protein drinks, smoothie drinks, as well as the latest plant-based meat products for catering channels and vegan coffee capsules.
The plant-based meat brand, HARVEST GOURMET®, for the professional food service business was launched in April 2021. It is the first time Nestlé Hong Kong has launched products in the plant-based meat category in Hong Kong, to enable consumers to try out lower-carbon plant-based alternatives to traditional meat through different catering channels. These innovations also provide more varieties for plant-based options in the market in addition to those commonly seen in vegetarian Chinese cuisine.
To uplift consumers’ awareness of the environmental and health benefits of its products, Nestlé has also incorporated the green message in its communication initiatives such as social media promotions.
The cross-category plant-based products enriched Nestlé’s product portfolio globally and delivered a positive impact on the business. According to Nestlé’s 2021 Annual Review, plant-based food products generated sales of around CHF 800 million (USD 825 million) in 2021, posting 16.8% organic growth. Nestlé Hong Kong is expecting to double its market share of plant-based products in the food service sector by 2024.
Plant-based innovations give consumers the opportunity to join in the fight against climate change. Parallel to traditional products, they provided more accessible and sustainable food and beverage options with a smaller carbon footprint, facilitating consumers to adapt to a more environmentally friendly plant-based diet which contributes to a sustainable future for generations to come. Their popularity is growing amongst consumers.
By providing more accessible and sustainable food and beverage options with a smaller carbon footprint through the expansion of a plant-based product portfolio, Nestlé Hong Kong hopes to create positive value for both the society and shareholders.