On August 30, 2021, Nestlé officially inaugurated its largest R+D Accelerator, which is located at the company’s fundamental research centre in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is part of Nestlé’s global R+D Accelerator network which was launched in 2019. The R+D Accelerator provides a unique platform for start-ups, students and Nestlé intrapreneurs to bring highly differentiated innovations to the market fast.
The internal and external teams have full access to Nestlé’s state-of-the-art infrastructure and unmatched science, technology and business expertise. Using early trends, differentiating technologies and scientific discoveries as sources of inspiration, the teams develop innovative product solutions in a six-month immersive ‘idea to shop’ program.
They can consult with Nestlé’s R&D experts from around the world such as food technologists, nutritionists, regulatory and food safety experts, designers and packaging experts. Each team also receives hands-on support from dedicated innovation coaches and mentoring from Nestlé’s senior management.
“We give internal and external entrepreneurs full access to all the expertise and infrastructure they need to translate their idea into a product – from analytical labs, experimental kitchens, to prototyping and production facilities – and we help them test their innovations in real-market conditions,” says Tom Wagner, Head of the Nestlé R+D Accelerator program.
Today, Nestlé’s global R+D Accelerator network consists of 12 sites in 8 different countries. Each Accelerator is located at a Nestlé R&D site and focuses on a specific product category or region. For example, Nestlé has Accelerators at its R&D centres for dairy, nutrition, coffee, confectionery or food products. Regional Accelerators in China, India, U.S., ASEAN and Sub-Saharan Africa work with local start-ups and students to develop innovations relevant to their regions.
The newly inaugurated site that is embedded at Nestlé’s research facilities in Lausanne accelerates the translation of fundamental science into cross-category innovations. It is the industry’s largest Accelerator, covering a 4000 m2 surface with a variety of co-working stations, prototyping kitchens and mini-production facilities. It can host up to 10 teams simultaneously. Located at the heart of the Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley, teams have access to a sophisticated innovation ecosystem in the area of food and nutrition.
“At our R+D Accelerators we combine the creativity and entrepreneurship of students, start-ups and intrapreneurs with Nestlé’s extensive scientific and technological expertise. The initiative creates learning opportunities for both internal and external talents, builds competencies and fosters an entrepreneurial culture across our sites. It is great to see the passion and excitement of the teams as they go from an idea to a test launch in just a few months, overcoming many different challenges along the way!”, says Stefan Palzer, Nestlé Chief Technology Officer.
Since 2019, 165 participants have participated in the R+D Accelerator program and almost 80 products have been tested in 18 countries. Recent launches include the pea-based milk alternative Wunda, as well as a number of science-based nutritional concepts.
What is the Accelerator?
The Nestlé R+D Accelerator has opened up its “nest” to accelerate dynamic food & beverage innovations, aiming at delighting consumers and enhancing their lives. It offers a 6-month immersive entrepreneurial experience from “idea to shop”, empowering cross-functional teams to hit the market with pioneering and disruptive solutions that embrace new science, technology and of course, the love of food.
Let’s embark on this roller-coaster journey together and tackle the world’s most exciting food and beverage trends and challenges.
What do we offer?
The Accelerator provides access to co-development funds, infrastructure, expertise, coaching and mentorship from the largest food and beverage company in the world.
Access to Expertise
You will be guided along the way by a dedicated innovation coach as well as ‘Accelerator Angels’ who will help you with their expertise in R+D, business, manufacturing, food safety, all what is needed to craft innovation. You will also benefit from a tailored training program from the Accelerator and, importantly, mentoring from Nestlé’s senior management.
The Accelerator facilities consist of prototyping kitchens, pilot plant and production facilities, access to analytical labs, as well as various open and closed brainstorming and working rooms, where each team enjoys the use of a dedicated team office.
To enable you to bring next-level food and beverage innovation, the Accelerator supports you with a dedicated budget to cover operational costs, and depending on your initial employment status, you might be entitled for a temporary assignment contract.
How does it work?
- Submit your innovation proposal to one of the open challenges or apply to join a venture team.
- The Accelerator selection committee evaluates your submission.
- The Accelerator informs you if you have been selected and prepares your enrolment.
- You become part of a venture team in one of our Accelerators for 6 months.
- The Accelerator supports and coaches you, provides access to resources, expertise, and infrastructure.
- Accelerator members will be mentored “on-the-go” during the venture, enabling team decisions and ultimately the success.
- Successful developments are brought to shopper and consumer merit by creating revenue with their value proposition.
- The test launch results may open-up further opportunities after your 6-month adventure.
For more details on process & timelines, check our FAQ.
Who can participate?
Everybody! The Accelerator brings startups, students, graduates, and Nestlé employees together for the fast-track development of a novel food & beverage solution. Whether your innovative idea is hooked in new science, leveraging new technologies, originated by early trends or is a white space opportunity, the Accelerator is the right place to turn the idea into reality, in record times.
Are you curious and motivated to take part in the R+D Accelerator? Do you want to leverage your entrepreneurial skills, embrace ambiguity, and explore your creativity? Then we want you to join the Accelerator venture.
Our Accelerator Locations
Our global R+D network means we have Accelerators all over the world. From Singapore (SG) to Ohio (US) we’re bringing innovative solutions across product categories to people everywhere.