ALL of Nestlé’s confectionery research and development is to be carried out in York, following a decision to relocate some key work to the city from a base in Switzerland.

The move has been hailed as a ‘huge vote of confidence’ in York by destination management organisation, Make it York.

Nestlé said in a statement that it intended to streamline its research and development (R&D) activities dedicated to confectionery ‘to improve speed and agility of innovation on a global scale’.

It said that from May 1, the Nestlé Product Technology Centre for Confectionery in Haxby Road, York, would lead all confectionery-related R&D activities.

It said this would ‘leverage the recognised expertise of its scientists, engineers and product developers’, while the Chocolate Centre of Excellence in Broc, Switzerland, which opened in 2009, was to be transformed into a technical unit within the Broc factory.

“This project reflects the increased importance and focus we are giving to the tablet and premium chocolate market that is gaining popularity across the globe,” it said.

Charles Storr, economy and enterprise manager at Make It York, said: “This is brilliant news for York. The city has been at the forefront of chocolate manufacturing and innovation for over a century and this decision represents a huge vote of confidence in York by Nestlé, further cementing York’s growing reputation for excellence in bio-science.”

The Product Technology Centre York was opened in the city in 1991 and currently employs between 150 and 200 people including engineers, technologists, confectioners, technicians and nutritionists of more than 30 nationalities, according to the company’s website.

It said the centre was responsible for developing new technologies and innovative products, as well as providing help and technical assistance to Nestlé operating companies around the world.

“The heart of the PTC is the Pilot Plant, a miniature factory which simulates manufacturing processes on a smaller scale,” it said. “Here we can look at the development of new equipment and technologies and of new or reformulated products, as well as training and education of global Nestle confectionery staff.

“New developments and modifications of existing products are created in the development laboratory and confectionery kitchen.”

“The work at York PTC is essential for the continuous improvement of quality, nutritional profile, sustainability and affordability so our consumers continue to enjoy their Nestlé products.”