Last month, Nestlé launched its first organic products in Brazil – gluten-free oat bran and oat flakes both retailing at R$6.99 per 170g pack – across stores in the São Paulo state. Over the coming months, the products will be rolled out across other regions in Brazil.
The move comes just one year after Nestlé Brazil announced plans to invest in the development of large-scale organic milk production in the country.
According to Nestlé Brazil, the oat launch was just the beginning of organic product development in the country.
“Nestlé believes in the organic segment and has entered on a growing journey in the offering of these products in Brazil,” the company told FoodNavigator-LATAM.
The next two years, it said, would see a lot more organic-focused product development.
“We will have more novelties ahead and, besides this, we will begin to include organic ingredients as raw materials in the company's other products.”
'Unprecedented progress' in the supply chain
Nestlé Brazil said beyond product development, the launch formed part of a wider 'organic' vision.
“Nestlé's objective with this bet on organic products is to contribute toward the development of the organic chain as a whole in the country.
“...The organic product market is already consolidated in many countries and Brazil has a great potential for growth.”
Whilst the organic supply chain in Brazil remained fairly nascent and would take time to develop, Nestlé Brazil said its size would help advance organic operations from farm to pack.
“As the world's largest food and beverage company, we know that our entry into this area promotes an unprecedented progress in the production chain, ensuring the traceability of the process and facilitating the democratization of this type of product.”
The company said it wanted to popularize organic products and make them accessible to “all levels of society”.
“Our expectation is to increasingly serve the people better, expanding the consumption options in accordance with our purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future.”
Certified from farm up
Nestlé Brazil was working with 12 farmers in the Paraná and Santa Catarina states for its organic oat production, through a partnership with cereals specialist SL Alimentos that assisted farmers with the Ecocert organic certification requirements. The oat production was tracked from land selection through to harvesting, storage, transportation and packaging. The farmers used no fertilizers, agrochemicals, pesticides or chemical fungicides and the land was irrigated using rain water.
“Nestlé is developing a direct support plan with these organic producers, as well as those communities in which they are introduced,” the company said.
Traceability at each process step – from grain selection to packaging the product – was the priority, it said, and some monitoring would be done at the company's recently inaugurated quality assurance lab in São Paulo.
Inaugurated in March, 2018, the Nestlé Assurance Quality Center (NQAC) cost R$23m (US$6.7m) to build and formed part of a 24-strong global network of sNQAC centers.
Nestlé Brazil said the center used microbiological and physical-chemical analyses to assure the quality of raw materials, packaging and finished products and would play an “important role” in the quality analysis process for organic products and components used and launched in the near future.