Nestle has broken ground on a CHF98m (US$98.8m) facility in the Philippines to meet rising demand for its Bear Brand and Coffee-mate brands.

The world’s largest food maker hopes the plant, which is expected to be completed in March 2012, will spur economic growth in the area and create “hundreds” of jobs.

Nestle said it needed to invest to increase production. “In 2010 alone, the domestic market demand for Bear Brand and Coffee-mate is projected to grow by 19% and 8%, respectively. While export of Bear Brand under the brand name Everyday is also expected to grow by 38% this year.”

A spokesperson for Nestle told just-food that Nestle’s business in the Philippines has grown in the last five years, by an average of PHP4.6bn annually. Sales stood at almost PHP86bn in 2009.

“Nestle is among the top eight largest corporations in the country,” the spokesperson said. “Nestle’s local investments in the past five years have totalled close to PHP10bn, with about 80% allocated for existing facilities to generate higher efficiencies and to protect the environment, while the balance 20% was deployed into sales infrastructure, distribution, and IT systems.”

Once the factory the operational, Nestle said the Philippines will become “the Coffee-mate hub in Asia”.

In addition to this investment, Nestle said it will continue to invest in its four existing factories in the Philippines, focusing on technology and equipment upgrades. In 2009, the firm said it produced almost half a million metric tonnes of products in the Philippines, including coffee, milk, beverages, non-dairy creamer, infant nutrition, ice cream, chilled dairy, and breakfast cereals.

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