Nestlé has highlighted a 3.5% organic growth and a 1.2% sales increase in its full-year results for 2019.
The food giant’s CEO Mark Schneider told Bloomberg he is "super pleased" with the company’s organic growth as it matched management's guidance and is expected to continue growing in 2020 and beyond. He predicted it can accelerate above 3.5% and ultimately achieve a 4% to 6% goal in the next two years.
In a statement, he said: “We have also reaffirmed our sustainability leadership at a time when society is increasingly looking to business for solutions to the major environmental problems we are facing. In addition, we have made significant progress in making our workplace even more diverse and inclusive. New initiatives, such as our enhanced parental leave policy, reaffirm Nestlé’s status as an employer of choice around the world."
Schneider said the company is fully embracing the need for speed, and cited the rapid expansion of its new plant-based food and beverage offerings. “We are getting to market faster with must-have products.”
He said plant-based and meat-alternative food products and new and emerging food items will be counted on "re-energizing and re-defining" the multi-billion dollar food industry.
Nigel Frith, a senior market analyst at www.asktraders.com, told ConfectioneryNews: “Nestlé has been working hard to streamline its diverse portfolio to keep up with changing consumer demand. Its efforts appear to be paying off as profitability improved in 2019 and organic growth hit a four year high of 3.5%, a touch below target of 3.6%.
“The transformation program still has some way to go but these are certainly encouraging figures, from a highly competitive industry. The vegetarian and plant-based foods division performed particularly well and is an area to keep an eye on going forward.”
In relation to the spread of the coronavirus, Nestlé has over 30 factories in China and the "large majority" are now operating as normal, Schneider said.
“We have focused on ensuring the safety of our people and their families and introducing protective measures for all our facilities. We are working closely with the Chinese authorities as they take measures to contain this epidemic, building on our significant experience and expertise on the ground. Our immediate thoughts are with the people directly impacted by this global health emergency.
“We stand in solidarity with the Chinese people and are working hard to ensure our nutritious food and beverages continue to be widely available, particularly those for the most vulnerable, the youngest and the oldest in society.
“The Greater China region is our second largest market, representing about 8% of global sales. It is too early to quantify the financial impact of this outbreak at the present time.”
In 2019, Nestlé opened the Institute for Packaging Sciences to accelerate the development of safe, functional and environmentally-friendly packaging solutions and has launched a CHF 250m ($254m) sustainable packaging venture fund to invest in start-up companies specialized in innovative packaging solutions and recycling technologies. Nestlé’s commitment is to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.
The company's broader sustainability agenda is to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. As part of these commitments and to increase transparency, Nestlé will continue to outline further initiatives and provide regular progress updates, it reported.