Nestlé’s innovation platform HENRi@Nestlé marks one year anniversary

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Passatempo kid's biscuits. Picture: cba B+G deisgn agency.
Passatempo kid's biscuits. Picture: cba B+G deisgn agency.

Related tags Sustainability Sustainable development

From initiating portion control advice on biscuits, alternative green packaging for Nestlé Waters and promoting Nespresso’s sustainability efforts - HENRi@Nestlé celebrates its one-year anniversary this month.

The ‘innovation platform’, named after Nestlé founder Henri Nestlé, is designed to support startups and entrepreneurs in addressing business and brand challenges and revolutionize the nutrition, health and wellness sectors, contributing to a healthier future.

Business challenges


HENRi features real business challenges from across Nestlé and opens up applications to any business who think they can solve that challenge.

For example, last year, Nestlé Waters found while bottled water helps people drink more water throughout the day, the PET plastic it uses is not without challenges and conventional plastic is not seen as a credible biodegradable material.

Carton-based packaging is also not a viable alternative as consumers want to see the water through the packaging.

As a result Nestlé Waters Management & Technology team based in Paris, France, wants to work with the right partner to scout for complementary alternatives and to find other ways to make water available to consumers.

Once it has selected the most promising alternative it will pilot them and look to roll them out to the wider Nestlé Waters organization.

We have a huge ambition and breadth looking at business challenges from helping families with portion control and tackling obesity to addressing packaging sustainability within our bottled water business​,” said Gerardo Mazzeo, global innovation director and CSV manager, Nestlé.

It’s just the beginning, and I’m looking forward to working with the team at Nestlé and new startups to make a difference on projects that matter​.”

$50,000 funding

Nestlé declined to say which startup companies worked with them on its six HENRI projects last year, but each one received $50,000 and senior business support to fund pilots to bring their products and ideas to life, known as a ‘partner-pilot-proof of concept’ collaboration.

Other projects included encouraging consumers to stick to the recommended portion size of 30g when eating Passatempo Brazil kids’ biscuits.

So far it has tried using on-pack communication and re-sealable packaging to educate consumers but now it wants to one step further to create lasting behavioral change.

Entrepreneurs who have worked with Nestlé:

  • Blippar
  • Crowdly
  • Linqia
  • Adadapted
  • Ovuline
  • Nextuser

HENRi@Nestlé 2016 projects:

  • Helping families with portion control
  • Giving new mums a new helping hand
  • A better way of diagnosing deficiency
  • Nesquik Studios
  • The Nespresso sustainability experience
  • What is the future of bottled water

This could be a design agency, with a packaging modification that stops people reaching for a fourth biscuit. A start-up with an idea for a ‘psychological nudge’ or an app developer who will bring the concept of portion control alive in a fun and engaging way.

Another project is with Nespresso, where it found despite its sustainability efforts, most consumers don’t perceive Nespresso as an ethically strong, sustainable brand and it wants to change that perception.

Christophe Scarton, head of customer experience, Nestlé Nespresso, said it wants to create an ‘experiential platform’ that allows customers to experience and understand Nespresso’s sustainability initiatives and its positive impact towards improving social and environmental sustainability at farm level.

Sustainability is one of Nespresso’s core values. In 2003 we launched the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program – a sourcing approach that enables us to secure high-quality coffee while supporting farmers and protecting the environment​,” he said.

And, in 2009, we integrated sustainability across the business with Ecolaboration - an initiative to drive sustainable development throughout the value chain​.

Today, 80% of Nespresso coffee sources comes from the AAA Sustainability Quality Program. By 2020, Nespresso aims to source 100% AAA sustainable coffee, achieve 100% responsible aluminium recycling and become 100% carbon neutral through The Positive Cup Program​.

Despite these efforts, consumers don’t perceive Nespresso as an ethically strong, sustainable brand. This is something we need to change, as brands that show a commitment to sustainability are more likely to grow​.”

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