LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND — A little more than two years after launching the Nestle R&D Accelerator network, Vevey, Switzerland-based Nestle SA has inaugurated its largest R&D Accelerator at the company's fundamental research center in Lausanne. The R&D Accelerator brings together company scientists, students and startups to boost innovation and speed to market.

The internal and external teams have full access to Nestle’s research and development expertise and infrastructure, including shared labs, kitchens and bench-scale and pilot-scale equipment. 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.

In addition to being able to consult with Nestle's R&D experts from around the world, each team receives hands-on support from dedicated innovation coaches and mentoring from Nestle'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," said Tom Wagner, head of the Nestle R&D Accelerator program.

Two years into the program, Nestle said its global R+D Accelerator network consists of 12 sites in 8 different countries. Each Accelerator is located at a Nestle R&D site and focuses on a specific product category or region. For example, Nestle has Accelerators at its R&D centers for dairy, nutrition, coffee, confectionery or food products. Regional Accelerators in China, India, the United States, ASEAN and Sub-Saharan Africa work with local startups and students to develop innovations relevant to their regions.

Nestle said the newly inaugurated Accelerator is the industry's largest and features a variety of co-working stations, prototyping kitchens and mini-production facilities. It can host up to 10 teams simultaneously.

Since 2019, 165 participants have participated in the R&D Accelerator program and almost 80 products have been tested in 18 countries, Nestle said. Recent launches include the pea-based milk alternative Wunda, as well as a number of science-based nutritional concepts.