Transnational food and drink giant Nestlé is considering a sale of its US confectionery arm, which includes brands such as LaffyTaffy, Butterfinger and Nerds, in order to bolster its health credentials.
Such a sale would fit with Nestlé’s stated ambition to become more focused on health and nutrition as increasingly diet-conscious consumers turn away from processed foods toward fresher alternatives.
This shift in emphasis has already seen Nestlé sponsor a $50k hunt for startups that hold promise for enhancing people’s quality of life and encouraging healthy living.
While a clear signal of intent, its US sweetie business remains small fry compared to its European business, generating annual sales of just $923m and ranking fourth behind market leaders Mars, Hershey and Mondelez International.
This compares to global sales of $9.02bn for its confectionery business as a whole, with Nestlé averring that it remains ‘fully committed’ to growing this business further.
In the UK market for instance, rather than opt for wholesale withdrawal Nestle has chosen to reduce the sugar content of its chocolate and sweets by a tenth by 2018 in order to see off a threatened 'sugar tax'.
This new way of thinking has already led Nestle to launch Henri@Nestle, an innovation platform with the ambitious target of improving the health and wellbeing of consumers.