Nestlé is the latest mega food company to get in on the food & beverage accelerator movement.
Today the Swiss company announced that it was launching an R&D accelerator program in Lausanne, Switzerland. This is the first internal accelerator for Nestlé, who previously partnered with Rabobank and Rocketspace to create the Terra Food + Agtech Accelerator program in 2017.
In the press release, Nestlé was pretty vague on the details. We don’t know what type of startups or individuals they’re targeting, how many have been accepted, or how often the cohorts will cycle through. The release lists “Nestlé scientists, students, and start-ups,” so presumably it will be a pretty diverse mixture of participants.
However, we do know a few key things about the program. Accepted individuals and groups will get access to Nestlé’s R&D labs, kitchens, equipment, and expertise, as well as some office space. The accelerator will kick off before the end of 2019.
Nestlé joins an ever-growing group of big CPG companies who are launching accelerators to sniff out new, trendy brands. Chobani, General Mills, Kraft-Heinz, and Pepsi-Co are just a few that have done so over the past year. It’s a smart move: accelerators are a relatively low-touch way to give corporations access to agile, innovative companies, which they can either acquire or partner with for image, product and marketing purposes.
My colleague, Jenn Marston, predicted we’d see even more of these programs from Big Food in 2019. It seems like she was right.