Nestlé has invested more than 100 million Swiss Francs (RMB 730 million, AU$155.6 million) in a significant expansion of its operations in China. While it will grow its existing pet food plant in Tianjin, it will also develop new production facility – the company’s first in Asia – for plant-based products.

There will also be new investment for confectionery business with an upgrade of the production line of Nestlé Chengzhen Wafer.

China is now the second biggest market for Nestlé. The company has 31 production sites, three R&D and four innovation centers, a food safety institute, a dairy farming institute and one coffee center. Nestlé employs about 43,000 people in China.

Nestlé said the investment underlines the company’s determination to contribute to the transformation and upgrading of China’s food industry. A signing ceremony for a Memorandum of Understanding between the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) Administrative Commission and Nestlé China was held in Tianjin.

Nestlé Great China Region chair and CEO Rashid Qureshi said Nestlé began its commitment to the Chinese market when it opened its first factory in Tianjin in 1994.

Qureshi said the food sector has undergone a quiet revolution as people are choosing more and more healthy, nutritious, and environmentally friendly foods. To meet the demand, Nestlé decided to step up its focus on the plant-based category and invest in a new production facility at TEDA.

“By investing more in latest technologies to create products using plant, Nestlé will help to reduce carbon emissions. In 2019, Nestlé announced the goal of achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” he said.

The company would continue to bring innovation to its product offerings in China, Qureshi said. Chengzhen, a flagship wafer product series launched in 2019, had been widely welcomed by the market. The latest investment would see further development of the product and diversified snack options.

Nestlé also revealed plans to upgrade its Quality Assurance Centre in Tianjin by further enhancing laboratory testing and quality monitoring services, quality assurance and laboratory capacity-building training, technical support for food safety and compliance testing, and more.

Qureshi said: “Having successfully managed the effects of the COVID19 pandemic with the support of the Chinese authorities, Nestlé has decided to increase its investments in China which is another clear demonstration of our long-term commitment and confidence in the country.”

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