Nestlé S.A. is a Swiss multinational food and drink processing conglomerate corporation headquartered in Vevey, Vaud, Switzerland. It is the largest food company in the world, measured by revenues and other metrics, since 2014. It ranked No. 64 on the Fortune Global 500 in 2017 and No. 33 on the 2016 edition of the Forbes Global 2000 list of largest public companies.
Nestlé’s products include baby food, medical food, bottled water, breakfast cereals, coffee and tea, confectionery, dairy products, ice cream, frozen food, pet foods, and snacks. Twenty-nine of Nestlé’s brands have annual sales of over CHF1 billion (about US$1.1 billion), including Nespresso, Nescafé, Kit Kat, Smarties, Nesquik, Stouffer’s, Vittel, and Maggi. Nestlé has 447 factories, operates in 189 countries, and employs around 339,000 people. It is one of the main shareholders of L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics company.
Nestlé was formed in 1905 by the merger of the Anglo-Swiss Milk Company, established in 1866 by brothers George and Charles Page, and Farine Lactée Henri Nestlé, founded in 1866 by Henri Nestlé. The company grew significantly during the First World War and again following the Second World War, expanding its offerings beyond its early condensed milk and infant formula products. The company has made a number of corporate acquisitions, including Crosse & Blackwell in 1950, Findus in 1963, Libby’s in 1971, Rowntree Mackintosh in 1988, Klim in 1998, and Gerber in 2007.
The company has seen various controversies, facing criticism and boycotts over its marketing of baby formula as an alternative to breastfeeding in developing countries, its reliance on child labour in cocoa production, and its production and promotion of bottled water.