Nestlé is not closing its operations and leaving Trinidad and Tobago.
In fact, the company continues to invest millions in to its operations here and hopes to stick around for another 100 years, says Patricio Torres, head of market for Nestle in the Anglo-Dutch Caribbean.
“We believe we are adding value in the country. Everybody is interested in Nestle continuing in the country because we are providing jobs and we are doing many other things to continue for another 100 years,” Torres said, as he led Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon and members of the media on a tour of the Valsayn factory yesterday morning.
The Nestle T&T boss said he recently saw a rumour on social media that the company was closing its factory and leaving T&T.
“But this is really not the truth. We are not leaving the country, but we are investing,” he stated.
“We are not saying that we are in the best situation, but we are improving. So that (rumour) is totally fake news,” Torres added.
During the factory tour, Torres noted that the company has invested heavily in upgrading the facility.
Nestle T&T looks beyond region
Among the new machinery at the factory is a $1.5 million palletiser, a machine that provides automatic means for stacking cases of goods or products onto a pallet, eliminating the need for manual labour.
Torres explained to the Express that employees who once spent hours stacking boxes on pallets now function in other areas of the manufacturing operations.
Saying that opportunities for trade abound beyond the Caribbean market, Torres said Nestle T&T has been developing products of an international standard.
He said in the last year and a half alone, Nestlé’s Anglo-Dutch Caribbean region launched 85 new products.
“Sixty-five of them were produced here in Trinidad with our people, with our labs, with our marketing team, with our ideas,” he stated.
Among them is the recently launched Orchard Fruit and Veggie juices.
“If you see these products we are developing, it’s quite international. I was in Washington last week trying to sell our products in the US and other markets. Because why not? We have international standards with our products here. So we can fulfil the needs of consumers everywhere,” Torres said.
Gopee-Scoon said she was impressed by the wide range of new Nestle products and she expressed pleasure that Nestle was able to retain all its employees.
She said her only concern was that a lot of Nestle’s manufacturing inputs, such as the fruit and veggie mashes, are imported.
“That’s where our focus has to be and this is how we have to help Nestle. In the last budget, in addition to all the incentives we had, we actually brought the taxation for farmers down to zero. It means that we have to focus on agriculture, not only to reduce the food import bill and to give us safer food to eat, but as inputs into manufacturing,” Gopee-Scoon said.