Nestle, a multinational manufacturer of food products, has set up a processing, filling and packaging plant in Bangladesh to further strengthen its dominance on the country's market for baby food products.
From now on, the company will produce its lactogen brand baby food in the country.
Officials at Nestlé Bangladesh said they on Wednesday started production of only lactogen-2 and lactogen-3 in their factory constructed at an expense of Tk150 crore in Gazipur's Sreepur.
Initially, the factory will process 6,000 tonnes of lactogen a year. They will also process the remaining variants of lactogen in the country after gradually increasing its production capacity.
Naquib Khan, director (corporate affairs) of Nestlé Bangladesh Ltd, said processing of infant formula, its filling and packaging will be done in the country by bringing products in bulk to the new factory, which will alleviate a crisis of baby food supply as well as directly and indirectly provide employment to 1,000 people.
Some 30-35% of value will be added to Nestle products because of their processing in Bangladesh, which will save a huge amount of foreign currency, he added.
According to sources, Nestle owns a major portion of Bangladesh's Tk4,000 crore baby food market.
Nestle supplies 55-60% out of 10,000 tonnes of baby food products a year. The company has been repackaging Nan brand milk in the country for several years. But, the best-selling lactogen was imported from factories in other countries and supplied to Bangladesh.
Naquib Khan said there are markets for lactogen in more than 180 countries around the world. Lactogen is processed in 34 countries. Bangladesh has now been added to the list.
Inaugurating the plant, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, said, "I am happy to know that Nestlé Bangladesh is going to open the infant formula processing, filling and packaging plant."
"During my visit to Nestlé SA Headquarters, Konolfingan factory and Nestlé Research Centre in Switzerland in October in 2019, I had a discussion with Nestlé's leadership team regarding investments in Bangladesh by setting up their world class factory.
This is a matter of satisfaction to me that Nestlé has kept their commitment," he added.
Virtually joining the event, Deepal Abey wickrema, managing director of Nestlé Bangladesh, said Bangladesh's success in reducing child malnutrition to almost half has been the quickest in recorded history, which became possible for the investment and intervention made to this sector.
"Driven by purpose and touching the lives of millions by addressing their daily nutritional needs, we take pride in bringing nutritionally superior products to people of Bangladesh with highest standards of safety and quality in our world class facility at Sreepur factory," he added.
Among many others, Md Sirazul Islam Khan, executive chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, Suresh Narayanan, market head of Nestlé South Asia Region, Arshad Chaudhry, nutrition business head at Nestlé Zone Asia-Oceania-
Africa, Stefan Bernhard, regional manager at Nestlé Zone Asia-Oceania-Africa, Christian Schmid, head of technical at Nestlé Zone AOA, also attended the event.
Nestlé, the largest food, and beverage company in the world for more than 153 years, has been operating in Bangladesh for more than 26 years.