Swiss food giant Nestlé has opened a global R&D centre in Santiago de Chile designed to develop biscuits and cereal-based snacks.

The centre will lead Nestlé's research and development in biscuits and cereal-based snacks, focusing on the "innovation and renovation" of products, the company said today (5 January).

The facility will develop technologies to cut sugar and fat levels to make biscuits lighter, and develop biscuits with bioactive ingredients to improve digestive health, as well as fortified products to address local micronutrient deficiencies.

"The research at this centre will provide exciting opportunities for innovation in a very important product category. It will allow us to offer consumers in Latin America and beyond the choice of tasty, healthy, more nutritious biscuits," said Nestlé's CEO Paul Bulcke.

Nestlé has seven production facilities in different parts of Chile. The new R&D site is based at Nestlé's industrial site in Maipú, which employs over 1,200 people.

Nestlé, meanwhile, this morning announced plans to acquire Kraft Foods' frozen pizza business in the US and Canada for US$3.7bn.

The business includes brands such as DiGiorno, Tombstone, California Pizza Kitchen, Jack's and Delissio, and will provide Nestlé with a new "strategic pillar" to its frozen food portfolio in the US and Canada.