Nestle Health Science Brazil launches nutrition-based health program

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / inga
© Getty Images / inga

Related tags: Nestlé, e-health, startups

The nutritional health specialist unveils its eHealth startup program, designed to help find and develop new businesses in 2019 and 2020. We spoke to Monica Meale, Head of Nestlé Health Science LATAM, to find out more about why they’re shining a spotlight on nutritional startups in Brazil.

Nestlé Health Science (NHSc) Brazil has introduced Nestlé Beyond Food, a competition that plans to create and build partnerships with startups in e-health. The contest program, which is accepting entries until 25th October, is collaborating with entrepreneur network, StartSe, and R&D and manufacturing specialists, Innoscience. 

Together, the trio aims to commence and accelerate business success by working with up to three Brazilian startups between 2019 and 2020. The contest reflects NHSc Brazil’s move to boost its investment efforts in the Latin American country.

Accelerating nutrition in Brazil

“We are always looking to accelerate,”​ enthused Monica Meale, Head of Nestlé Health Science-LATAM.

“Brazil is the first country in which NHSc is running a business acceleration program to identify startups that have the kinds of skills we need to address the future of nutritional health,” ​revealed Meale.

The contest, Nestlé Beyond Food, will select the Brazilian startup businesses it wishes to work with based on their business execution, nutritional support for outpatients, nutritional product solutions and e-Health technologies.

“NHSc has strongly invested in digital innovation. In the last three years, the area increased its investments fivefold,”​ revealed Monica Meale, Head of Nestlé Health Science LATAM.

Innovation initiatives to date include the development of e-commerce-driven products and services and digital innovations such as the production of virtual reality educational videos to encourage patients to correctly use nutritional diets, QR Code packaging that enable consumers to have an augmented reality experience, digital shelf, virtual sign language assistant on websites and a business acceleration program jointly with health startups.

Commenting on the influences behind NHSc’s increased investments, Meale explains: As the branch responsible for the development of Nestlé's health and nutrition solutions, NHSc is driven by a strategy that addresses the nutritional needs of a diverse set of consumers and patients, and is aligned with market trends, which requires swiftness, speediness and increased collaboration.”

As such, NHSc is able to develop its solutions in healthy aging, oncology, pediatrics and clinical nutrition.

“We are focused on developing nutritional therapies that change the way people view health control, thus ultimately providing greater consumer benefits,” ​added Meale.

Outpatient support, products and technologies

Nutritional startups in Brazil may opt to focus on maximizing their business capabilities, such as increasing sales conversion in e-commerce, optimizing distribution management, improving logistics efficiency or implementing pricing tracking that can directly detect changes in competitor pricing.

Considering outpatient nutritional needs, NHSc Brazil will be looking to identify robotics solutions such as Internet of Things (IoT) and food recognition, that help both outpatients’ caregivers and families on nutrition during their treatment. IoT, for example, can enable people to track patients' nutritional conditions, such as identifying the risk of malnutrition. Food recognition can also help to select nutritional information about the food consumed by patients.

Nestlé Beyond Food contest is looking for innovative ideas that are available in various flavors and textures that center on the aging population and bowel function. Personalization is a key area too, along with healthy aging and gut health.

eHealth startups may be able to support with innovative products and services that help patient care using “different technological resources – robotics, 3D or 4D food printing, augmented reality, and more – to the warehousing and distribution of products intended for e-commerce sales”.

Startups entering the Brazilian nutrition competition can also focus on eHealth technologies that enable clinical pre-diagnostics focusing on prevention, nutritional assessment or clinical condition to patients.

Biometrics, which use wearables and gadgets, along with augmented, virtual or mixed reality, can be applied for educational purposes to engage patients in their nutritional treatments. On-demand laboratory testing solutions that focus on DNA, vitamin D and glucose are also favorable as these can explore specific consumer needs.

Brazil: Selected for innovation

Sharing insights on what makes Brazil such an important market for both nutrition and innovation, Meale goes no to say: “Brazil has been a leader in many areas, and innovation is one of them. NHSc has been seeking solutions on many fronts since healthcare and nutrition science are complex and require a more holistic view of consumer demands and market trends.”

“There are studies showing that malnourished patients increase costs by more than 60% during hospitalization. If we consider the use of medications and diagnostics, hospital costs rise over 300% compared with the hospitalization of well-nourished patients.”

Specifying that Brazil is a market of great importance”, ​to NHSc in Latin America, Meale also emphasizes that the business unit has expanded globally, enabling other Latin American countries to be part of its strategy on an ongoing and consistent basis.

Markets such as Argentina and Chile have recently launched new​​ healthy aging products, while NHSc has also mapped other Latin American countries and health areas as future opportunities, for example.

Winning startups

Once the deadline has closed on 25th October, Nestlé Beyond Food will firstly choose up to 15 companies to visit Nestlé headquarters in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Following a meeting with senior company executives, Nestlé will select five startups to pitch, before the science and nutrition leader will pick up to three startups.

These winning nutrition startups will team up with a financial sponsor to help create new products, services and solutions. The selected startups will receive financial funding of up to R$ 1 million, and the opportunity to accelerate NHSc businesses during the partnership.

“As a global company and attentive to all the markets, Nestlé believes in the huge potential of the healthcare segment in Brazil, besides the facility to test new technologies locally. This allows the country to be the first to receive business acceleration programs developed by Nestlé eHealth startups,”​ concluded Meale.

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