Nestlé Health Science ramps up innovation in Brazil

The company wants to firm up partnerships with up to three startups within the next year in areas including Internet of Things, robotics and augmented reality.

Nestlé wants to accelerate its corporate innovation projects with startups in its health sciences division in Brazil.

The Nestlé Beyond Food initiative is the first of its kind in the world and aims to firm up contracts with up to three startups within the next year.

The program, led in partnership with corporate innovation firms StartSe and Innoscience, is expected to help the company improve some business areas and also develop new offerings.

According to the Latin America head at Nestlé Health Science, Monica Meale, the investment demonstrates Nestlé's commitment to the Brazilian market, where the company has recently announced an investment of 900 million reais ($216 million) in innovation in Brazil by 2020.

"Brazil has been a protagonist in various areas of the company and we also seek leadership in the health segment, which is why this market is the first to launch a business acceleration program with e-health startups," Meale noted.

Within the business execution pillar of the program, Nestlé will seek to find startups developing innovative propositions in areas such as stock management and distribution and logistics efficiency.

In the outpatients area, the company wants startups developing innovations in the field of robotics to support the nutrition of individuals who are not hospitalized. This would include, for example, Internet of Things (IoT) systems that could track risk or level of malnourishment.

The company will also seek to find startups developing technologies that support the prediction of prevention of health and nutritional conditions such as biometric systems to be used in wearables and gadgets. The firm is also interested in virtual, mixed or augmented reality propositions for patient engagement.

Within products, the company is interested in investigating 3D or 4D food printing, health aging and gut health.

Up to 15 startups will be chosen for a series of preliminary conversations with company executives, with five ventures taking part in a pitch day in December when the three finalists, who will also receive funding from the company, will be chosen. Companies can take part in the selection process until October 25.