Nestlé: Swiss Food Giant
Nestlé was formed in 1905 by the merger of the Anglo-Swiss Milk Company, founded in 1866 by brothers George Page and Charles Page, and Farine Lactée Henri Nestlé, established in 1866 by Henri Nestlé. The firm grew rapidly during the First World War and again following the Second World War. It increased it product offerings going beyond its early condensed milk and infant formula products.
By the early 1900s, the company was operating factories in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain. The First World War created demand for dairy products in the form of government contracts, and by the end of war, Nestlé’s production more than doubled.
The company immediately felt the negative effects of the Second World War with profits dropping. It was the war though which helped the introduction of its newest product, Nescafé, which became the stable drink of the US military. The company’s production and sale rose in the wartime economy.
The end of the Second World War saw the company experience rapid growth and acquiring numerous companies including its merger with Maggi, a manufacturer of seasoning and soups.
The company has made a number of corporate acquisitions, including Crosse & Blackwell in 1950, Findus in 1963, Libby’s in 1971, Rowntree Mackintosh in 1988 and Gerber in 2007.
Nestlé’s products include baby food, bottled water, breakfast cereals, coffee and tea, confectionery, dairy products, ice cream, frozen food, pet foods, and snacks. Twenty-one of Nestlé’s brand have annual sales of around $1.1 billion including Nespresso, Nescafe, Kit Kat, Smarties, Nesquick, Stouffer’s Vittel, and Maggie. The company has 447 factories, operates in 194 countries, and employs around 339,000 people. It is one of the main shareholders of L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics company.
Measured by revenues its is the largest food company in the world. The Swiss transnational food and beverage company is headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland. It has a primary listing in the SIX Swiss Exchange and is a constituent of the Swiss Market Index. It has a secondary listing on Euronext.