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Nestlé Reaches Out To Small Business Entrepreneurs In Europe

8/8/11 www.foodingredientsfirst.com

Aug 8 2011 — Nestlé connects with around 2,000 small businesses in Europe this year as part of its Taste of Home campaign.
First developed as a marketing initiative in 2005, the campaign offers a wider range of Nestlé products under brands such as Maggi, Nido, Nestlé, Milo, Carnation and Nescafé.  Imported from Nestlé markets worldwide, the products comply with European food laws, and are sold in ethnic convenience stores or ethnic ‘Mom and Pop’ stores across Europe.

Under Nestrade – the global trading arm of the Nestlé Group – as part of the initiative, the Retailer Development Programme was kick-started this summer for small business owners to encourage entrepreneurism, best standards in shop maintenance, greater integration in local communities and excelling communication with consumers.

Reaching out to ethnic Mom and Pop stores in Austria and Belgium, which follows on from the extension of the initiative to Italy and Switzerland last year, the small business owners in each of the four countries not only benefit from selling Nestlé-branded ethnic food products, but also have the opportunity to grow their businesses while becoming more professional.

In turn, consumers benefit from compliance and increased freshness of the imported products.

Alexander Klein, Manager for Ethnic Food at Nestrade, explained the concept.

He said: “Under Nestrade, we are offering the small business entrepreneurs the prospect to build up their business, assisting them to integrate in their local communities, and helping them to become successful.

“As part of the Programme, there is the ethnic ClubCard option which works like a loyalty scheme.  The small business owners can voluntarily apply for membership as long as they meet certain criteria such as compliance and store hygiene.  Once we have judged and accepted their application, we give them exclusive membership whereby they have advantages of exclusive promotions and discounts.”

Mr Klein emphasised: “But also under the loyalty scheme, they can benefit by growing their business.  For example, we may sponsor events helping the ClubCard members to understand local business regulations, or provide them with language proficiency skills.  It is about helping them to move forward and integrate in the local community to boost their business.”

Mr Klein stressed that the small businesses have to meet rigorous criteria to achieve membership, but hopes that a quarter of the 2,000 stores will become members to reap the benefits of the ClubCard scheme before the end of the year.

Branching out to Holland and Germany next year, the Taste of Home campaign and ClubCard Programme will also be launched in the Scandinavian region in 2013.

Connection and communication

The Taste of Home campaign – which was extended to focus predominantly on halal last year with its Flavours of Ramadan range in August 2010 – launched it again this month to offer halal-certified brands such as Maggi, Nido, Carnation and Milo to consumers throughout the Islamic fasting period.  This is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar where Muslims take part in fasting from dawn until sunset.

Mohammad Rahimi Abdullah, Sales and Marketing Specialist for Ethnic Business at Nestrade, explained that while the Taste of Home campaign encourages the Company’s connection with small businesses in Mom and Pop stores, it also enhances Nestlé’s communication with consumers.

Mr Abdullah said: “We decided to use the month of Ramadan to increase our visual presence by putting up displays and product items of our Flavours of Ramadan range, which have a nostalgic connection with our consumers.

“Included in the range is the Maggi Chorba soup product, which is an example of a must-have nostalgic product for a consumer from North Africa during Ramadan, but is available to them whether he/she is in Milan or in Brussels.

“In addition, in trying to approach more consumers, the Taste of Home range, including Flavours of Ramadan, is also for non-Muslims who wish to buy these products and meet the community at these Mom and Pop stores.  So it is not only about servicing the ethnic group, it is also about extending to other communities who have developed a taste for exotic foods as well.”

Mr Klein concluded by re-emphasising the Company’s prominence in the ethnic foods sector and said: “We are the first multi-national food company that has strong and structured presence in ethnic Mom and Pop stores, with visual product and brand presence in multiple product categories, from milks to culinary, confectionery, cereals, coffee and beverages.  Our Taste of Home range highlights Nostalgic, Exotic and Halal varieties, which we will continue to expand in Europe.”

Halal at Nestlé

Since the 1980s, Nestlé has been offering halal versions of well-known products right across its range of food and beverages, including confectionery such as Kit Kat and Smarties, Maggi soups, Nido and Neslac milk, Milo malted drinks and Nescafé coffee.

Of Nestlé’s 443 factories worldwide, 85 have a halal certification with 154 halal-certified production lines situated mainly in Indonesia, South Africa, the Middle East, Turkey and Malaysia – with Malaysia as the Halal Excellence Centre and biggest halal food producer within the Nestlé Group, exporting to more than 50 countries worldwide.

A total of 20 of Nestlé’s factories in Europe have halal-certified production lines, for example, Nestlé’s Konolfingen factory in Switzerland produces halal-certified Healthcare Nutrition range for export to South-East Asia.

An Islamic inspection authority such as the Halal Feed & Food Inspection Authority (HFFIA) or the Islamic Food Council of Europe inspects Nestlé factories along with a Nestlé Halal Committee member to ensure that products comply before the halal certification can be awarded.

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