The company said its new research centre will help it to more effectively and efficiently evaluate the impact of foods and ingredients on human biology and health – in addition to measuring the effects of products on taste and pleasure.
Speaking at the launch of the new centre Rafael Crabbé, head of the new clinical development unit confirmed the new centre will be responsible for the design and execution of all Nestlé clinical development programmes on a global scale.
“Our desire to do more sophisticated studies to understand the physiological effects of nutrition requires an investigational centre that has the capabilities to meet our demands,” said Crabbé.
“In order to do all this, we have a multidisciplinary team of medical directors, clinical project managers, data managers and statisticians.”
Whilst the clinical development unit itself will be responsible for the design and management of Nestlé’s global clinical trial programme, the metabolic research unit attached to it will play a growing role in the execution of trials, said the unit leader.
Also speaking at the inauguration, Werner Bauer, Nestlé’s chief technology officer cited the company’s commitment, “to offer our consumers healthy food and beverages” as a key reason for the move to centralise its clinical research activities.
“In the history of mankind we’ve never had so much information about how nutrition affects health. And yet we know surprisingly little,” explained Bauer.
“New technologies are revolutionising our understanding of how nutrients and foods affect biological mechanisms and influence health ... Here at Nestlé, we are contributing to this biological revolution.”
Bauer added that there is a strong focus on producing strong scientific data – something he believes is ‘essential’ both for responsible communication and for the substantiation of health claims.
From fundamental nutrition research and work on new biomarkers, to testing of how products effect energy metabolism, body fat, bone density, or pleasure mechanisms; the new unit will plan and conduct clinical research on a whole range of products and specialist areas.
The unit will employ around 40 specialists, who will manage and plan up to 100 clinical trials – with data from over 20,000 participants – at any one time.
More insight to follow on NutraIngredients tomorrow.