Nestlé today opened its first Research and Development Centre in Ireland at its existing manufacturing facility in Askeaton, County Limerick, marking the completion of a three-year building programme with a capital investment of €27million.
The new R&D centre will focus on scientific research to support innovations in the development of milk-based maternal and infant nutrition products for the global market. The Centre was formally opened by Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine; and Thomas Hauser, Head of Global Product and Technology Development for Nestlé S.A.
Also attending the official opening today were Patrick O’Donovan, Minister of State, Department of Finance and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Orla Battersby, Divisional Manager, Enterprise Ireland and Thierry Philardeau, Head of Nestlé’s Nutrition Strategic Business Unit.
Over 40 research staff are employed at the R&D Centre, which is co-located with Nestlé’s Wyeth Nutrition manufacturing plant. Wyeth Nutrition Ireland produces a range of premium milk powder products for infants, young children and mothers for export to world markets.
Thomas Hauser, Head of Global Product and Technology Development for Nestlé S.A., said at the opening event: “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. 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.”
The R&D Centre will concentrate on developing premium, science-based products for mothers and infants. It 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. The project investment was supported by Enterprise Ireland.
Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, added: “This 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. Nestlé’s decision to invest and open this centre further places Ireland internationally as a location that offers quality raw dairy materials combined with a highly educated and skilled workforce. It is a major signal of confidence in the future and quality of the Irish dairy industry.”
Dan O’Callaghan, Head of the new R&D Centre, speaking at the event stated: “Between our pilot plant and laboratories, we have installed state-of-the-art food processing equipment and analytical instruments. We will also complement our in-house activities through collaborative research programmes with Irish universities and with Teagasc - the Agriculture and Food Development Authority. This will enable our cross-functional team of research scientists 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; “Enterprise Ireland is committed to supporting companies like Nestle to increase their level of innovation, improve their competitiveness and expand their global footprint, with the ultimate goal of 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.”