Multi-million £ investment in Nestlé’s York R&D centre

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: New product development

Nestlé plans a big R&D investment at its York site
Nestlé plans a big R&D investment at its York site
Nestlé will start a multi-million pound investment in its global confectionery research centre in York if, as expected, it receives planning approval at a city council meeting this Thursday, September 22.

The Kit Kat manufacturer plans to develop its Product Technology Centre at its Haxby Road site in a move expected to create dozens of new jobs in the city.

The centre, which opened in 1991, currently employs about 150 engineers, technologists, confectioners, technicians and nutritionists. The facility is responsible for creating all new and reformulated Nestlé confectionery products, and develops equipment and technology.

Councillor James Alexander, Labour Leader of City of York Council, told FoodManufacture.co.uk:“The historical city of York is renowned for many things, but our international reputation for being a chocolate city and playing home to some of the biggest names in the confectionery world, past and present, is one of our biggest assets.

Welcome investment

“That’s why I would welcome any investment Nestlé proposes, particularly when the application is to extend part of its office accommodation and proposes to increase employment opportunities so it can continue to develop confectionery products for Nestlé worldwide.”

Alexander added that the council planning approval system should make it easy for businesses to grow.

A Nestlé spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk:“We’re delighted that expansion plans for Nestlé’s global R&D centre for confectionery have been recommended for approval. Once completed, it will further emphasise York’s role as a global centre of excellence for confectionery.” ​The expanded research and development facility will undertake new product development and test new manufacturing equipment, he said.

The firm cut about 600 jobs from in its workforce in the city five years ago but has pledged to continue investment in the city. It currently employs about 1,800 people in York.

Chocolate-themed

Meanwhile, construction has started on a £2M chocolate-themed visitor attraction in York.

The Sweet History of York will showcase the city’s long links with the confectionery industry featuring its trading and manufacturing past.

The project is lead by visitor attraction company Continuum, which also helped to create the Jorvik Viking Centre.

Juliana Delaney, the firm’s chief executive said: “We hope to add value to the fantastic visitor experience the city already offers and give visitors a reason to come back. We hope to add over 30 new jobs to the economy and add to the early evening economy too.”

York’s sweet history

  • 16th century, cacao bean first imported in western Europe.
  • 19th century, three entrepreneurs; Joseph Terry, Joseph Rowntree, and Mary Craven, independently start sweet and chocolate production.
  • End of 19th century, confectionery is the city’s second biggest employer after railways.
  • Nestlé, which acquired Rowntree in the 1980s, operates a major manufacturing site in the city.
  • 1991 Nestlé opens its Product Technology Centre (PTC).
  • 2005 Terry’s chocolate factory closes.
  • 2011 Nestlé announces plans to develop its PTC.

Related topics: NPD, Confectionery

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