Bloomberg Quint has published a feature about Nestle’s new emphasis on healthier foods. “There is a renewed interest in health and nutrition,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Schneider said in an interview.
“I think this is here to stay, certainly throughout the later stages of this pandemic, and we believe also beyond that.” Schneider can’t claim to have invented the company’s healthy push. It’s a concept the company has pursued for the better part of two decades under the stewardship of his two predecessors. And some rivals like Unilever NV and Mondelez International Inc., are also remodelling their portfolios around healthier options.
But Schneider has accelerated the transformation with the deepest overhaul in 30 years, harnessing developments from investor pressure for faster growth to changing consumer tastes to the Covid-19 pandemic that have changed the trajectory of the food industry.
It’s a shift that’s moved the Swiss company ever further away from the business that long defined Nestle: snacks and convenience foods that are fun and easy to eat but not necessarily healthy.
In his first year at the helm, Schneider got unlikely support from activist investor Dan Loeb, whose Third Point LLC fund had built a stake in the company and demanded Nestle boost profit. Schneider responded by offloading the U.S. confectionery and ice-cream businesses as well as the skin-care subsidiary.
“Nestle will have to perform a tightrope walk in the food segment as it balances appealing to both the health-conscious premium and the mass-market audience,” said Christian Zogg, head of equity and fixed income at LLB Asset Management in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, which holds Nestle shares.