To be located at the Nestle R&D centre in Singapore, the hub is tasked with accelerating innovation in the beverage sphere and developing new product ideas based on local tastes.
A team of five, initially comprised of four beverage specialists and one trainee, is currently being assembled and trained to work on the project. Work is expected to get into full flow at the beginning of 2011.
Nestle said coffee mixes would be a key focus for research efforts as they are products that perform strongly in the Asia Pacific region and are expected to grow over the coming years.
These are instant coffee products with additional ingredients, such as Nescafé regular 3-in-1, which contains coffee, sugar and a creamer.
Nestle spokesperson Hilary Green said the team will build on the different flavours of Nescafé coffee mixes that the company already has on the market in the Asia Pacific, including ginger and honey, chocolate and fudge, and hazelnut.
As well as working on formulation and product design, the beverage team will also develop new packaging, including form training and technical assistance to Nestle markets in the Asia Pacific Region.
The announcement of the creation of the new innovation hub comes as the Nestle R&D centre in Singapore celebrates its 30th anniversary.
Talking at an event to celebrate the landmark, Susanne Kulhanek, director of R&D Singapore, said: “Faced with an increasingly competitive economic environment, we need to keep blazing the trail of innovation so that we can continue to serve our consumers to the best of our ability, to meet – even anticipate – their needs, and to delight their palettes.”
The Asia Pacific is the strongest growing region for Nestle at the moment. In the first quarter ending in March this year, the company reported 10.3 per cent organic growth in Zone Asia, Oceania, Africa compared to 5.1 per cent in Zone Americas and 3.4 per cent in Zone Europe.