Nestle SA Chief Executive Officer Mark Schneider’s strategy of throwing new ideas at the wall to see what sticks has produced a dispenser that spits out drinking water — 64 varieties of it.
The world’s biggest food company showcased the new gadget, the size of a vending machine, as it launched a new research center to look for ways to reduce packaging. Like other bottlers, the owner of Pure Life and Poland Spring has faced criticism over the environmental impact of transporting and selling water in millions of plastic containers.
The dispenser offers 64 different kinds of water — from plain to flavored, with various degrees of carbonation. The company is testing the machine, which attaches to the tap and includes a filtration and purification system, at its own sites around the world.
Nestle may introduce the device, which can accept cashless payments, next year. While it’s intended for offices and cafeterias, the company is considering a smaller home version. It follows rival Danone’s development of a water appliance that dispenses Evian from a balloon-like container.
“We’re in a period of trial and error, where we attempt a lot of things and see what works,” Schneider said at the new center as the company announced a commitment to zero net greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. “The fact that we’re trying is more important” than whether any individual project succeeds.