Frozen foods to pharmaceuticals
Acquisitions enable Nestlé to enter fast-growing new areas such as frozen foods, and to expand its traditional businesses in milk, coffee and canned foods. In the 1970s the company diversifies into pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. It starts to attract criticism from activist groups that allege its marketing of infant food is unethical. Nestlé later becomes one the first companies to apply the WHO code on breast-milk substitutes across its business.
With increasing numbers of households buying freezers, demand for ice cream is rising. Nestlé buys German producer Jopa and French manufacture Heudebert-Gervais to capitalise on this growth, and adds Swiss brand Frisco in 1962. The company also buys UK canned foods company Crosse & Blackwell.
Nestlé buys the Findus frozen food brand from Swedish manufacturer Marabou, and extends the brand to international markets. Findus is one of the first companies to sell frozen foods in Europe, from 1945.
Ceylon Nutritional Foods (Pvt) Ltd – the successor to Nestlé Products (Ceylon) Ltd - is incorporated, selling branded food products under the Nestlé, Crosse & Blackwell, Lactogen, Milkmaid and Maggi trademarks.
Nestomalt, a malted milk-food drink developed by Nestlé Australia, is later introduced to the island. The product fast becomes a household favourite in Sri Lanka, where the locals not only consume the product on its own but also mix it together with their tea. Nestomalt is only manufactured in Sri Lanka today and remains Nestlé Lanka’s biggest brand.
Chilled dairy products are increasingly popular, Nestlé buys French yogurt producer Chambourcy. In the early 1970s the latter launches the Sveltesse range of yoghurts, aimed at health- and weight-conscious consumers.
Nestlé enters mineral waters by buying a stake in French waters brand Vittel.
Keen to bolster its canned foods and frozen portfolio in Anglo-Saxon markets, Nestlé takes over the US frozen foods company Stouffer Corporation, and buys canned foods producer Libby, McNeill & Libby in 1976.
For the first time, Nestlé diversifies beyond food and drink, becoming a minority shareholder in global cosmetics company L’Oréal.
Renamed Nestlé S.A, the company continues its diversification strategy, buying US pharmaceutical and ophthalmic products manufacturer Alcon Laboratories. Declining breast-feeding rates lead some activists to question the baby food marketing strategies of companies including Nestlé. In 1977 they call on people to boycott Nestlé products.
Nestlé launches a dairy development programme in Sri Lanka to help rural farmers produce more milk of better quality, honouring its commitment to the government to help develop Sri Lanka’s dairy industry.
Nestlé SA and the Government of Sri Lanka form a joint venture – International Dairy Products Ltd (IDPL) – to use local milk for condensed milk production. IDPL’s factory is based in Polonnaruwa.