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Unlocking New Opportunities with Gen AI

How Nestlé is deploying AI across nearly every aspect of our business to deliver increased value for consumers.

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AI has played a part in business for years, often in behind-the-scenes roles like streamlining operations and driving supply chain efficiencies. However, recent advancements in Generative AI  have placed the technology top of mind for enterprises and consumers alike, and its use is set to increase exponentially. According to McKinsey's 2024 State of AI Survey, there has been significant growth in AI implementation in the last year alone: 72% of organizations reported using AI in at least one business function, up from around 50% over the past six years.  

When I started as Chief Digital and eCommerce Officer just over 18 months ago, Nestlé was already testing and learning with Gen AI across several areas of the organization. I was excited we had a jumpstart in exploring how the technology could help drive growth, solve business challenges and ensure we continue to deliver for our consumers at every moment. Today, we’ve been moving quickly to deploy AI across nearly every aspect of our business. We immediately recognized its utility in working smarter and faster, enabling us to dial up our competitive intensity, and deliver increased value and relevance for consumers across our expansive portfolio.  

Putting People at the Center  

At Nestlé, our people have always been our competitive advantage, and we view AI as an enabler for our people. It is one tool in a toolbox that is informed by the unique perspectives and experiences of our team members. As with any technology, we put our people at the center of how we deploy it across our business.  

We started this early on with the launch of NesGPT, our internal version of ChatGPT, equipping our employees with a tool to support productivity and decision-making in a secure, private environment. We've provided training across our organization to educate teams on how NesGPT can boost efficiency and help us work smarter, and it’s been incredible to see how our employees are leveraging the platform to support work across different functions like sales, product innovation, marketing and legal.  

We're also energized by how Gen AI has added value to the work of team members across the business—from support in building consumer relationships to product innovation insights to upgrading production and supply chain processes, such as anticipating stockouts at retail locations and optimizing pricing and promotions. In our supply chain and manufacturing division, AI and Intelligent Process Automation are being implemented on a large scale to automate demand forecasting and inform how our people make product distribution decisions.

Accelerating Product Innovation

One of our most exciting projects with Gen AI is a new proprietary tool we’re leveraging as part of our end-to-end product innovation process. The technology is anchored to our consumer insights and plays a crucial role at the front-end of the process, helping teams generate and test product ideas in a faster and more efficient way.  

The tool presents a range of concepts in a little over a minute, taking in inputs from more than 20 Nestlé USA brands and analyzing real-time market trends to suggest creative product concepts that our teams can then go on to explore and test. We’ve already trained about 100 team members who make up Nestlé's innovation community on how to use the tool within our innovation process and develop starter concepts by responding to just a few simple prompts.  

In our early efforts, we have seen the tool accelerate the product ideation process from six months to six weeks. We've also recently completed an initial test within our Premium Waters business that showed promising results, and we are now exploring the potential of bringing some of those ideas to market. As for what’s next, we’re continuing to expand and evolve the tool to support our internal capabilities—like manufacturing and R&D—to help our people unlock more opportunities for innovation and scale.  

Continuing the Momentum

While Gen AI is a powerful tool, it is just one part of our strategic innovation process, and there’s always more to be explored. Our teams continue to evaluate and refine concepts developed with the power of AI, leveraging our unique understanding of the market and our consumer-first approach.  

To me, the really exciting part about Gen AI is the vast improvements in capabilities we’ve seen in a short period of time–both the underlying capabilities of the technology, and the opportunities it presents for our team members to get more experienced using AI tools.  

This is just the beginning of the journey, yet we’re already seeing some of the incredible ways AI can help address the needs of our consumers and solve a range of business challenges in new and exciting ways. The power of our people combined with our always-on approach to innovation will help us capitalize on this technology as it continues to grow. We exist to delight our consumers – to be there for every moment - and we believe AI is a key way we can continue to respond with speed to evolving consumer needs.