Switzerland-based global food giant Nestle has announced plans to invest A$17m (US$16.8m) in the expansion of its Tongala production plant in north-east Victoria into a food manufacturing hub for Oceania, Asia and Africa.

Victoria regional and rural development minister Jacinta Allan welcomed Nestle’s investment.

“Nestle is rapidly growing its nutritional food business in areas such as health care nutrition, performance nutrition and infant nutrition,” she said.

“Tongala, near Echuca, is ideally located close to food production areas, major national and international transport links, and a ready workforce. With this in mind, Nestle has taken hold of a great opportunity to expand its factory at Tongala. It will become the Australian hub for nutritional food production in the Asia Oceania Africa region.”

The food and beverage conglomerate has had a presence in Australia for more than hundred years. In 1999, Nestle Australia’s head office became headquarters for its Oceania business, which includes operations in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

Nestle is the world’s biggest food company in terms of sales, and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of baby food. Well-known Nestle brands include Uncle Toby’s, Peter’s Ice Cream, Kit Kat, Maggi, Nescafé, Milo and Purina.

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