The financial details of the renewed investment were not disclosed but four years ago Nestlé committed US$15m (about €11.6m) to the initial Chromocell collaboration.
Chromocell CEO Christian Kopfli told FoodNavigator the renewed Nestlé agreement was "a validation" of its proprietary technology that allows for healthier foods and beverages.
“[We] put human biology to work and use natural cells expressing native human taste receptors to discover novel flavor substances, with a focus on natural compounds. Chromovert technology creates the salt taste receptor in its native form allowing the company to find natural alternative ingredients that enhance salty taste while reducing salt."
The company says it can help companies achieve significant reduction for caloric and non-caloric sweeteners as well as salt in products, and has been a long-time collaborator of The Coca-Cola Company in sugar reduction. It has also worked with Mondelez International and Kraft in the area of bitterness blocking.
In-house nutrient profiles
Nestlé has an in-house product reformulation system which has received the recognition of the European Journal of Nutrition (EJON) for its effectiveness in reducing the sugar, salt and fat content in its global portfolio. Products that meet the requirements of its nutrient profile system achieve what it calls ‘Nutritional Foundation’ status. This means the product is “an appropriate choice when a consumer chooses to have it in the context of a balanced diet”, a spokesperson said.
For products that do not make the ‘Nutritional Foundation’ grade by the end of 2016, the company has set itself the objective of reducing their salt content by 10%.
“When reducing salt content in our products that do not yet meet the Nutritional Foundation criteria, we typically start with a gradual reduction," a spokesperson said. "A second approach we apply systematically is the culinary reformulation of our products. Here, our chefs use their expertise to compensate for reduced salt content by selecting and optimising the best ingredients to rebalance the taste profile, for example with the addition of spices.”
Nestlé is strongly in favour of a strictly regulated EU nutrition framework but the company has expressed mounting frustration that things are not moving quickly enough at a legislative level. Specifically, it would like to see a pan-EU nutrition policy that would create a level playing field for food and beverage companies.
Last week Nestlé announced that its CEO Paul Bulcke will be stepping down next year to be replaced by Ulf Mark Schneider who has previously worked in the pharmaceutical sector. One of the Nestlé’s rare external high-level recruitments, the move is seen to be a sign of the food company's commitment to nutrition and health.