Nestlé Romania is an integral part of the local eco-system, partner of communities, retailers and a top employer. Nestlé’s mission in Romania is to provide the highest quality products and bring added value on the side of educational projects and programs. In the current geopolitical, economic and social context, Nestlé practices a resilient, healthy, sustainable business, a business that has helped both business partners and local communities.
“For this year we want to continue to grow at the pace we had in the first semester, 12.6%, to bring to the market healthy and quality products, at prices accessible to all, we also focus on the further development and consolidation of a united and strong team. In the first six months of the year we hired over 50 new colleagues in several departments. In the second part of the year, we will develop the CSR projects that we have already started, ending the year with a new tree planting campaign. For 2023 the plan is to continue investing in the development of the portfolio with sustainable products”, says Silvia Sticlea, Country Manager Nestlé Romania.
Sustainability projects in 2022
Creating Shared Value has always been fundamental to the way Nestlé does business. Our society can only be successful in the long run, creating value for both the company and society. Nestlé is fully committed to accelerating the transformation towards fair, net-zero-emission food systems that can feed all people. In the new CSV report for 2021, Nestlé explains how it supports the transition to positive food systems for nature. In order to be able to achieve this goal, it is essential that each part of the Nestlé system contributes, in a localized way and adapted both to local realities and to the needs of consumers and communities in each country.
Over the past two years, Nestlé has reduced its absolute greenhouse gas emissions, even though its business volume has increased significantly. More specifically, it has achieved a reduction of 4 million tonnes of CO2, for example, by switching to renewable electricity or by encouraging the use of natural fertilisers in agriculture. Nestlé has initiated removals of 9.7 million tonnes of CO2 through nature-based solutions within its value chain.
Nestlé is investing CHF 1.2 billion by 2025 to help build regenerative farming practices. Nestlé’s initiatives aim to protect ecosystems, improve biodiversity and reduce emissions from agriculture in the supply chain. Nestlé works closely with the farmers, suppliers and communities in which we operate to enable a just transition.
Nestlé wants more sustainable product portfolios through innovation. Innovation stimulates products with low environmental impact. In recent years, several plant-based food and beverage products with lower carbon dioxide emissions have been launched.
Nestlé is stepping up its efforts to transform its packaging into 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025 and to reduce the use of new plastics by a third over the same period. The company switched last year to 100% recyclable packaging for sweets brand Smarties. And for the Nespresso® Division of Nestlé Romania in 2018, we launched a coffee capsule recycling program and created the necessary collection and recycling infrastructure.
“There is a strong need for collaboration and public-private partnerships to intervene in areas such as sustainable education and sustainable development of tomorrow’s society. That is why Nestlé has been investing for over 12 years in educational projects in the field of nutrition and environmental education, because we believe that the education of the young generation will lead to positive changes and long-term effects. In the future, carbon will be the new calorie, that is, consumers will be very careful and calculate carbon emissions, choosing products that have an environmental footprint as small as possible. That is why this year we are planting 20,000 seedlings together with the Association Mai Mult Verde in Giurgiu County, as a result of our national campaign “A greener future” and part of our initiative Nestlé for a Waste Free World”, says Irina Siminenco, Corporate Affairs Manager Nestlé România.
Nutrition and lifestyle trends in 2022
Earlier this year, Nestlé and the research agency Masmi completed a study in the field of nutrition in the south-eastern part of Europe, where Nestlé operates, and several differences in behavior and consumption were observed. Romanians are most aware of the impact of food choices on environmental sustainability (64%), while Bulgarians in a percentage of 51% and Serbs only 35%. Romanian citizens pay more attention to the information on the packaging (53% read the list of ingredients, and 47% read the nutritional information) by comparison with the Bulgarians who read the list of ingredients only 44%, respectively 45% read the nutritional information. Serbs read the information on packaging the least, only 27% look at the list of ingredients and only 22% read the nutritional information. Over 60% of Romanians find this information very useful, compared to 50% of Bulgarians and 49% of Serbs. Among the decisive factors in food choices, Romanians mentioned in order of importance: ingredients (72%), price (71%), nutritional values (62%), local source (61%), production from sustainable sources (60%).
In all three markets, the most important factors that contribute to a healthier lifestyle are a healthy diet (60% in Romania) and physical activity (51%). When it comes to the differences between countries, in Romania physical activity and a healthy diet are considered somewhat more important than in Serbia and Bulgaria. A freshly cooked meal at home is the dominant choice among the inhabitants of all three countries, this is the main meal at least three times a week for a larger number of Romanians (86%), compared to Bulgarian and Serbian citizens (75% and 72%, respectively). About half of the citizens in all three markets consume at least 1-2 herbal meals a week. Herbal, meatless and plant-based meals are generally well accepted among residents of all three countries (between 38% and 51% consume them at least 3 times a week). For example, in Romania, 51% of respondents prefer plant-based foods, 46% do not prefer meat-free foods and 40% prefer foods with plant proteins. The greatest potential for plant-based diets is seen in Romania and Serbia, where over 40% of consumers plan to increase their consumption of this type of food in the future, compared to about one in three residents under 50 in Bulgaria (28%).
When we talk about cereals, the main barriers to buying whole grains are the taste (says 36% of Romanians) and their price (for 29%). Adults consume whole grains on average 2.8 times a week in Romania, 2 times in Bulgaria and similarly in Serbia (1.8 times). Children up to 16 years of age in Romania seem to consume whole grains more frequently than in other markets (on average 3 times a week, compared to 2.5 times in Bulgaria and 1.8 times a week in Serbia). The wealth of fiber and the role in the prevention of some (chronic) diseases are recognized as important benefits of whole grains in all three target markets.
In terms of cooking habits, Romanian (39%) and Bulgarian (36%) consumers include children more often in the cooking process, compared to Serbs (15%). Parents generally emphasize extra patience (56%), prolonged preparation and cooking time (47%), as well as additional care to avoid children’s injuries (51%), as the most important barriers that prevent or reduce the practice of cooking children’s involvement in the cooking process.
Regarding the sources of information and advice, doctors and nutritionists (for 48%) and personal experience (for 15%) are primary sources of information when it comes to raising healthy children in Romania. In Romania and Bulgaria, more parents rely on the advice of experts in this field, compared to parents in Serbia, who rely more often on their own personal experiences and beliefs.
“The study brought new elements, but it also confirmed things that my colleagues and I in this geographical area had already noticed from the practice. There are certain differences in behavior, depending on the information campaigns, education and the projects we have been running for more than 12 years. Romanians’ answers show us the tendency and interest of Romanians to be as informed as possible about ingredients, the concern for products from sustainable sources, the increased interest in herbal products and the desire to involve children more and more in the preparation of meals. We will continue to develop products, projects and campaigns to help Romanians have a healthier diet “, says Nicoleta Tupita, Nutritionist Nestlé Romania.