The Swiss multinational food and drink processing conglomerate corporation Nestlé has been present in the world for more than 150 years – and for more than three decades in Hungary.
The secret of continuous development at Nestlé is that innovative, forward-looking food developments have been constant features throughout the company's history. The company was founded to provide a solution to one of the most pressing problems of the time: Nestlé's founder, the German-born pharmacist Henri Nestlé, launched the ‘farine lactée’ (milk flour) in Vevey, Switzerland, in 1867. He developed the product, made from cow's milk, wheat flour and sugar, to feed babies who could not access breast milk, thus reducing the high infant mortality rate of the time. The fact that innovation is still at the heart of Nestlé's operations today is demonstrated by its leadership in the development of plant-based products. Garden Gourmet meat alternatives, for example, fit perfectly into a health-conscious, balanced diet and support the company’s fight for sustainable food systems.
Three factories in Hungary
The Swiss company is operating in Hungary with over 2,500 employees in three factories (in Szerencs, Diósgyőr and Bük) and at its headquarters in Budapest to create a better quality of life and a healthier future.
The factory in Szerencs, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, became, in the last 30 years, Nestlé's regional coffee and cocoa drink powder production and filling plant in Central Europe, where nearly 40,000 tons of coffee and cocoa powder are produced annually and exported to 30 countries. The Diósgyőr factory, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, is Nestlé's only factory in the world specializing exclusively in the production of hollow figures, from where the company exports its products to more than 20 countries. The Group's Central and Eastern European pet food production hub, the PURINA factory in Bük, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, with products exported to more than 50 countries worldwide.
In Hungary, Nestlé Hungária distributes such inescapable brands as Purina, Nestlé Beba, Maggi, Nesquik, Nescafé, Nescafé Dolce Gusto, Ricoré, Nespresso, Starbucks at Home, Boci, Balaton, After Eight, Smarties, KitKat, L'Atelier, Nestlé breakfast cereals and Garden Gourmet.
Nestlé Health Science provides nutritional therapy solutions for specific nutritional needs, while Nestlé Professional offers high quality gastronomy and beverage solutions for the HoReCa sector and public institutions.
It was announced in January 2023 that an ultra-modern automated warehouse and a wet pet food production plant will be built in Bük as part of an investment of nearly HUF 140 billion. The investment, involving the construction of an ultra-modern, self-service, computer-controlled storage and retrieval system (ASRS) warehouse and a new wet pet food plant, is progressing according to plan.
In 2022, Nestlé's PURINA factory in Bük produced 215,000 tons of product. The planned deliveries this year will increase the production volume compared to the 2022 results, and the completion of the current improvements will increase the capacity of the plant by more than 100,000 tons per year. This will have a positive impact not only on employment but also on the region as a whole through indirect job creation.
Caring for the environment
In recent years, Nestlé's name has often been in the news for sustainability projects. The company will halve its carbon emissions by 2030 to achieve its net zero emissions commitment by 2050. At Nestlé, ‘net zero’ means that the company will minimize greenhouse gas emissions along the value chain from raw material production to consumption. In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, Nestlé is working with its suppliers to transform food production by replacing intensive farming methods with regenerative farming practices that benefit nature. The company is also paying particular attention to preserving soil health and sourcing cocoa and coffee from responsible sources.
As part of the Net Zero plan, Nestlé has re-thought its manufacturing processes: by 2025, the company plans to have all 800 of its manufacturing units around the world using electricity from 100% renewable sources. The good news is that the company has only been using electricity from renewable sources in all three of its factories in Hungary since 2017.
At Nestlé, the goal is to ensure that none of its packaging goes to landfill or – worse – into the environment, but to keep all its packaging materials in circulation. The company is developing its packaging to have a lower environmental impact, including using as much recycled content as possible, eliminating some difficult or non-recyclable materials by simplifying its packaging, using paper-based packaging and reducing the amount of plastic used.
However, it is not only the packaging materials that Nestlé is constantly improving to create a waste-free future and circularity. The company supports the development of waste management infrastructure, appropriate separate collection, sorting and recycling capacities and solutions in the country, and emphasis is placed on improving the related knowledge of consumers and staff.
And that is not all. Nespresso operates a capsule collection system in 70 countries worldwide, which allows the company to fully recycle both aluminum and coffee grounds in partnership with consumers. In Hungary, every consumer has access to some form of recycling, which is also available for hotels, restaurants and office buildings. And recycling is working: by 2023, the domestic capsule recycling rate will exceed 50%. This means that one in two capsules will remain in circulation.
Feed your Mind
Nestlé Hungária has been promoting a balanced diet through educational initiatives for almost 20 years. In 2018, ‘Nestlé for Healthier Kids’ was launched, focusing all Nestlé's efforts on creating a healthier future for children. The company places strong emphasis on local value creation initiatives to give back to the communities where it operates. For example, this year, Bük, the town that is home to the 25-year-old factory, was the first to launch the ‘Etesd az Eszed’ [‘Feed your Mind’] health education program for schoolchildren, which has since expanded nationally. It is just one of the activities supporting children in the area around the factory.
Planning for long term
Over the past 30 years, Nestlé has invested more than HUF 325 billion in Hungary. As a result, the company’s Hungarian factories have become indispensable not only in the country's economy but also in the region. Nestlé is planning for the long term, and its aim is to optimize its operations even further, while taking sustainability into account.
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