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Kraft opens new centre near Nestlé

United States food company Kraft has unveiled a new R&D centre in western Switzerland dedicated to chewing gum and sweets.

“This is our only research and development centre in Switzerland,” Laurie Guzzinati, a company spokeswoman said. The SFr13.5 million ($13.95 million) office is located in Eysins, canton Vaud, about 60km away from one of its main competitors, Nestlé.

There are currently 35 workers at the Kraft facility, but the number should increase to 60 in the coming months, the company said. Those workers will focus efforts on developing new products for brands like Trident chewing gum, Halls lozenges and Carambar caramels.

Kraft figures show that the chewing gum market alone has grown 25 per cent since 2005. Chuck Davis, the company’s vice president of development in Europe, said this evolution is “a tremendous growth opportunity”.

Kraft employs 600 people at its European headquarters in Zurich. In 2009, the New Jersey-based company had sales of $40.3 billion, making it the second-largest food company behind Nestlé.

Nestle, which is based in Vevey, had sales of SFr107.6 billion ($111 billion) in 2009. In January 2010 it announced it would buy Kraft’s frozen pizza division, which includes popular brands like Tombstone and DiGiorno for $3.7 billion. and agencies

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