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Nestle gung-ho about India, to invest 5000 Crores by 2025

Buoyed by the heralding of an “Indian age” in its business, Nestle has charted a ₹5,000-crore accelerated investment plan till 2025 to grow its India business.

Speaking at a select media roundtable on Friday, Mark Schneider, CEO, Nestle SA, said: “We’re not only talking about an Indian decade here … but about the Indian age as we see the development take off, driven by digital acceleration.” Schneider stressed that Nestle will invest more in India in the next three-and-a-half years than it has spent in the past 60. “That should give a sense of our accelerated investment plans,” he added.

‘open cheque book’

India is among the top 10 markets for the Swiss packaged food major globally. Schneider pointed out that the investments will not just be on ramping up manufacturing but also in expanding R&D capabilities, brand building and making “meaningful contributions” on the ground.

“From our side, it’s an open cheque book and complete willingness to support the India business at every step of the way,” stressed Schneider.

Suresh Narayanan, Chairman and MD, Nestle India, added that the company’s fresh investments will be on growing core business and tapping new opportunities. Nestle India currently operates nine manufacturing plants in the country, employing about 6,000-7,000 people.

volume demand

On macroeconomic conditions, Schneider said inflation is a key concern globally but India is relatively less impacted compared to other large markets.

“India is in a very advantageous position. Of course, there are inflation concerns, but you see such a strong underlying volume demand from a rising middle class and due to growing income levels. That overpowers some of the concerns that may come from inflation. Overall, as a company, we’re committed to responsible pricing and keeping products affordable for all strata of society. But India is less-touched than many other large markets, because of the strong groundswell of economic growth that we’re seeing,” he added.

Swiss packaged food major Nestle, which announced plans for ₹5,000-crore investments in India over the next three-and-a-half years, said it is open to inorganic growth opportunities in the country.

Mark Schneider, Chief Executive Officer, Nestle S.A, said the fresh investment has been planned to tap into organic growth opportunities through capacity expansion in India in terms of factories or research centres.

“On top of that, if the right opportunity comes for M&A and if it’s a good fit, we will be very interested in exploring that,” he added.

In line with plans to achieve accelerated growth, the company is gearing up to tap into emerging segments in India such as plant-based protein, healthy snacking and leveraging on Indian grains to develop products.

On the cards is also strengthening its play in the nutrition space through its Nestle Health Science portfolio. It is also stepping up focus on growing its pet foods business in the country.

Supply chain

Talking about impact on supply chain due to volatility in macroeconomic conditions in recent years, Schneider said, “One of the key trends that has accelerated with the pandemic, especially in the food and beverages segment, is growing focus on building local and national supply chains. Fortunately, in India, 99 per cent of what we sell is made here. But in some other parts of the world, we’re now working on making supply chains less vulnerable.”

India plans

To tap into emerging segments such as plant-based protein, healthy snacking and leveraging on Indian grains to develop products

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