NestlÚ: Game-Changing Innovation < Back
Nestlé, which most recently pioneered the coffee capsule, is poised to blaze another new trail with nutritional products that address chronic medical conditions, explained Luis Cantarell, CEO of Nestlé Health Science. Cantarell spoke Friday at IESE as part of the EMBA Global Leadership Series on the Barcelona campus.
Cantarell was introduced by IESE’s Dean Jordi Canals, who cited the Swiss company’s longstanding traditional strengths in product development, brand and marketing, together with a focus on health.
During his presentation, Cantarell discussed Nestlé’s numerous breakthrough products through the years, as well as the company’s approach to innovation. Companies are currently operating in a world marked by “VUCA,” an acronym for “volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous,” said Cantarell. Among the key trends set to impact companies are food safety and security, energy costs and scarce water sources.
In addition to these, chronic disease among an aging population is a costly problem that will have a major impact on Europe and other developed regions in the near future, Cantarell said. “Sixty percent of the people in the coming years are going to die because of chronic diseases.”
Nestlé is developing new science-based nutritional solutions to address chronic disease through two initiatives – Nestlé Health Science and Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences. The medical costs of malnutrition in Europe – where 33 million people are estimated to be at risk for malnutrition – are already huge, he said.
“We want to create a new industry where nutrition will be a key player in helping people live with chronic conditions,” he said.
While disease prevention is always less costly than providing a cure, the company wants to expand “the boundaries of nutrition” to provide products that can help people who are living with disease, while also developing and marketing products that can help delay the onset of many conditions, such as cognitive decline.
The strategic move to enter products that address chronic disease follows on Nestlé’s decision in 2001 to become a “nutrition, health and wellness” company.
In explaining Nestlé’s approach toward innovation, he cited three distinct layers: renovation, incremental and game-changing. Companies, he said, have a responsibility to stay one step ahead of changes in society. “You need to value what your consumers value, the rest is waste,” he said.