Nestlé has developed a production technique for a new variety of its Nespresso brand that it says is similar to that used to create wine, in a step that reflects CEO Paul Bulcke’s recent emphasis on a move towards more ‘personalised’ premium products.
Limited edition ‘Grand Cru’ coffee Naora uses Colombian Castillo coffee bean ‘cherries’ that the firm said were left to mature on the plant until the last moment to develop their taste.
The blend was launched worldwide last week for Nestlé’s capsule system, and will temporarily form part of ‘billionaire brand’ Nespresso’s collection of 16 permanent Grand Cru coffees.
“The late harvest technique requires tight control of growing conditions to ensure the beans are picked when they have reached optimum maturity,” the firm said.
“Even a few days delay past that point can affect the taste and mean the whole harvest is wasted.”
Late bean harvesting
Nestlé said it worked with the National Federation of Colombian Coffee Growers to perfect the technique that was heavily influenced by oenology, with the beans selected for their ability to over-ripen and give a “blackcurrent and blueberry” taste.
Late harvesting meant that the beans were able to absorb the maximum amount of nutrients during growth that helped create a better aroma.
Nespresso sales grew 20% in 2011 on a sales base in excess of CHF 3bn (€2.49bn) with Nestlé pointing to growth in core markets (double-digits in France, for instance) and 15% of sales outside of Europe for the first time.
Geographic expansion during the year (Latin American launches are planned in 2012) and product and systems innovation (the first global Nespresso machine Pixie was launched in H1 2011).
“The unique Nespresso service proposition including boutiques [270 outlets worldwide driving 35% of brand sales] e-commerce [50% of sales] and call centre builds [15%].” the firm said.
Products, systems, services…
Discussing Nestlé’s 2011 results on February 21, CEO Paul Bulcke said the firm was building more products where income was derived from systems and services as well as the product itself, with Nespresso a good example of this.
He said: “It's a system that is individualised, personalised to a certain extent…So that is more and more built into our innovation image too. And I see Nescafé going more and more in that direction.
“Yet at the same time the core of the business, which is the Red Cup Nescafé classic or the Gold, is high on the agenda too because that is driving also our huge growth, keeping our positions in the markets where we are, but it's creating a lot of growth in emerging markets,” he added.