Nestle SA’s new CEO Mark Schneider has trimmed down the Swiss food group’s growth underlying sales to 2-4% this year, below a long-held goal of 5-6%.
In his first public appearance since joining the world’s largest food company in January, Schneider said total sales rose to 89.5bn francs (US$88.84bn), while revenue growth was 3.2% in 2016, “at the high end of the industry but at the lower end of our expectations”.
“In 2017, we expect organic growth between 2% and 4%. In order to drive future profitability, we plan to increase restructuring costs considerably in 2017” to some 500M francs (US$498M), Bloomberg reported him saying on 16 February.
Schneider said Nestle would first attempt to fix underperforming businesses such as the Chinese Yinlu food business. About half of the savings it was targeting by 2020 would come through streamlining production at its network of more than 400 factories, the Bloomberg report said. The other half would stem from measures such as centralising purchasing and cuts in administration.
Coffee, pet food and bottled water were businesses Schneider said he planned to devote more resources to. Nestle also planned to invest more in developing markets, where it made 42% of its sales last year.
“In terms of above-average growth, everything related to Asia-Pacific and emerging markets is still my long-term bet,” Schneider said in the Bloomberg report.
He also said he was fully committed to the company’s health drive and would stick to a two-fold strategy of making its core food products healthier, such as by cutting sugar, while building up its health science and ski health businesses.
Nestle has more than 2,000 brands worldwide including KitKat chocolate and Nescafé coffee.