Innovation for water quality
We invest in innovation and product development based on a deep understanding of consumer expectations.
At the Nestlé Waters’ Product Technology Centre (PTC), located at the Vittel factory compound in France, we employ a team of 80 researchers, including nutritionists, hydrogeologists, biochemists, microbiologists, and experts in packaging and packaging materials.
One of our current priorities is to identify new products and/or methods that will continuously optimise our environmental performance (Link to environment).
Our approval process for new ingredients and packaging materials developed at the PTC includes an official review by the NWQAC. The NWQAC must validate that any new products or manufacturers are fully compliant in terms of food safety and migration risks, sensory alteration risk and regulatory requirements (based on European Union and FDA requirements).
The testing process involves analysis to ensure that variables such as temperature will not affect taste. The results of this testing are kept in a master database, and factories may only utilise approved materials.
In addition, the NWQAC investigates food safety and migration beyond the requirements of existing regulation. This includes unregulated chemical components or secondary packaging such as label ink. These additional measures ensure maximum protection of the water and anticipate any potential risk of migration.
Prepared water : our methodology
For our prepared waters, we utilise a “60/40 methodology” as a method of ensuring that Nestlé Waters products are the preferred beverage choice of consumers.
We aim to achieve 60% product preference against key competitors in a blind consumer taste test. A panel of consumers is specially trained for this sensory assessment.
For each selected product, taste attributes are established and profiled against those of a competitor product. In our innovation, renovation and product development processes, the 60/40 preference is an important prerequisite for the launch of new or updated products.
On-shelf compliance programme
At Nestlé Waters, our plain and still waters generally have a two-year shelf-life. This guarantee is indicated via the consumption “best before” date indicated on each of our bottles and is part of the safety guarantee that we deliver to our consumers. For this reason, it is critical to prevent any potential quality deviation of our products during that period. Every year, sampling programs are established everywhere we are operating in order to collect final products in-store and test the continuity of their micro biological and chemical integrity.
Gathering and responding to consumer feedback is a key component of our quality model. It ensures our products meet consumer taste requirements and also serves to address quality issues or other concerns.
Based on consumer feedback, we carry out investigations using the DMAIC process :
It has proven to be an effective tool in our efforts to investigate problems, reduce product defects and ultimately improve consumer satisfaction.
As shown in this table, we achieved 0.76 dissatisfied consumer contacts per million bottles we sold in the retail channel in 2009.
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