(Yicai Global) Sept. 28 -- Nestlé SA, the world's biggest food company, plans to help China's catering businesses improve their product standards, cost control and food processing.
The country's dining-out market has enormous potential, and Nestlé will allocate more resources to it, Mr. Thom Kleiss, head of operations and assistant vice president of Nestlé Professional Asia Oceania Africa Region, told Yicai Global in an interview.
According to Mr. Kleiss, though some high-end catering companies have been hit by China's anti-corruption campaign, mass-market casual dining is still developing fast. But businesses need to diversify their product range, shorten the cooking process, and cut costs, and this is where Nestlé can step in to help them. Nestlé is well positioned to provide solutions, said Mr. Huang Xingyi, vice president of Nestlé Professional Asia Greater China.
Brands such as Hai Di Lao hot pot also need to adapt their products, applying the latest food technology, said Mr. Huang. Nestlé can help the well-known chain improve the color, boil-resistance and taste of its traditional condiments using cutting-edge technology.
In one of the latest trends, entrepreneurs with no prior experience have entered the catering business. They have exceptional marketing and operational abilities, but are new to the game. Take Hefu Noodle, for example. Nestlé will work out customized solutions for the company's product development, workflow standardization and so forth.
But Nestlé still faces challenges in China. The catering market is dominated by traditional Chinese cuisine, and characterized by very low market concentration and it is difficult to standardize cooking procedures. Although fast-moving consumer goods have been performing well, the growth of the catering industry as a whole has slackened. All these factors pose serious challenges that Nestlé needs to address.