The centre, which employs 80 people, will target three main categories, including growth and development, healthy ageing and weight management.
Nina Backes, corporate spokeswoman for Nestle, told NutraIngredients.com that research on traditional Chinese ingredients is also on the agenda. “Research on traditional Chinese ingredients will be important for providing health benefits both for Chinese consumers and for consumers in the rest of the world,” said Backes.
“Nestle already sells products in China with traditional Chinese ingredients such as lotus seeds and mung beans,” she added. “The company considers these ingredients as important elements to translate nutrition, health and wellness into meaningful products.”
The centre brings the company’s total R&D investment in China to CHF 18 million (€12.3 million). The company’s other R&D centre in the country is based in Shanghai and focuses on culinary products and ice cream, said Backes.
Backes confirmed that the company will strengthen existing collaborations with Chinese scientists in universities as well as in other research organisations in China.
In an exclusive interview with Peter van Bladeren, Nestlé's director of science and research in April 2007, this website reported that Nestlé has three types of collaboration: simple contract work carrying out clinical trials or analytical work; a large number of small collaborations with universities and research institutes; and a limited number of big alliances. Altogether, these collaborations extend to about 140 universities, research institutes and medical centres worldwide.
At the time, van Bladeren identified such collaborations as key to the company’s success.
The company currently has 24 R&D centres around the globe, and according to Backes, the Beijing centre is one of the bigger ones. Backes added that the centre has both global and local roles.
Beyond the health and wellness focus, the company said that safety and quality will also be a major focus, with these issues being addressed at every stage of product development - from the selection of ingredients to the choice of packaging material.
The inauguration was attended by Gao Qiang, Chinese Vice Minister of Health, Zhao Fengtong, Vice Mayor of Beijing, Lin Fusheng, Head of Haidian District, Nestlé CEO, Paul Bulcke, CTO Werner Bauer and market Head of Nestlé China, Patrice Bula.