Swiss food giant Nestle is looking to partner with Indian startups to appeal to tech-savvy consumers. Similar to its open innovation platform Henri@Nestle in the US, this initiative will help the 150-year-old company rope in third-party innovators to create new products, ramp up communication for its brands and stay relevant in the digital age. Nestle will fund cost of the projects.
For instance, the company wants Indian millennials to cook, which is vital for growth of its instant noodles brand Maggi. In one of its briefs, the company asked startups to generate “solutions that will help and inspire consumers to cook at home.”
“A probable solution could be a voice-based system that gives you step-by-step instructions on how to cook,” said Chandrasekhar Radhakrishnan, head of communication and e-commerce at Nestle India. “Startups can help Nestle solve business and brand problems and look beyond just products.”
Through Nestle’s open innovation platform, startup Henri@Nestle has created virtual reality applications for its Milo malt powder that may be adopted soon by some of its other food brands. Consumers can use their smartphones to scan Milo’s packaging which triggers an avatar talking about health tips.
Ongoing projects on the platform have also tasked startups with the job of making alternatives to PET bottles for packaged drinking water and creating packaging innovations to reduce obesity in kids by stopping them from reaching out for more than recommended portion sizes for a Nestle biscuit brand. Each brief has an assigned funding of $50,000. “In India, we will study the scale of the project and then decide on funds,” said Radhakrishnan.
And, Nestle isn’t the only FMCG company looking to harness the power of third-party innovators. Companies such as Danone and Kellogg have launched their individual VC funds that are on the lookout to make investments in companies pursuing next generation innovations.
SOURCE: Times of India