Nestlé Brands

Nestlé is a Swiss multinational food and drink conglomerate holding the title of the world’s largest publicly held food company.

It was founded in 1867 by Henri Nestlé who developed a milk-based food for babies unable to breastfeed from their mothers.

Around this time, another company called Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company was founded by American brothers Charles and George Page.

Nestlé then sold his company in 1875 to three businessmen who employed chemists and skilled personnel to expand production into new markets.

Over time, both Nestlé and Anglo-Swiss became fierce rivals and started selling different versions of each other’s original products.

Nestlé as the company most know today would not be formed until 1905 when the two companies merged.

After the merger, Nestlé expanded into chocolate and then numerous other industries such as frozen food, beverages, pet food, snacks, bottled water, coffee, and tea.

Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue Bottle Coffee is a café chain with over 100 stores across the United States and Asia.

Coffee beans are sourced from sustainable plantations, roasted fresh, and brewed to order. These cafés operate alongside an eCommerce platform and bean subscription service.

To honor a commitment to become carbon neutral by 2024, Nestle only works with coffee farmers who prioritize the health of the environment.

Products include Blue Bottle blends, single origin coffees, espresso, cold brews, and Night Light decaffeinated coffee.


Perrier is a French mineral water brand known for its carbonation and unique green bottle.

Perrier is sourced from a spring in southern France that is naturally carbonated and was used as early as 218 BC by Hannibal and his army.

In addition to plain mineral water, Perrier is also available in flavors such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, peach and cherry, pineapple and mango, and strawberry and kiwi. 

The company was acquired in 1992 for $2.6 billion.


Smarties are colorful sugar-coated chocolate buttons that were originally manufactured in England by Rowntree’s.

The brand is mostly sold in Europe, Canada, the Middle East, and Australasia.

In the United States, the confectionary is not available since the naming rights belong to a similar product made by the Smarties Candy Company.

Rowntree’s was taken over by Nestle in 1988 after selling the candy under the Smarties brand for 106 years.

However, smarties themselves continued to be manufactured at Rowntree’s York, England factory until 2006 when production was moved to Germany.


Maggi is a Swiss brand comprised of various noodle, instant soup, and seasoning products.

The company commenced operations in 1884 with Julius Maggi, a pioneer in industrial food production who wanted to improve nutritional standards among busy working-class families.

Maggi, who dreamed of making his products as common as salt and pepper, formally established the company in 1897 as Maggi GmbH.

Before the turn of the century, Maggi developed powdered pea soup, liquid seasoning sauce, and bouillon stock cubes that are still available in some form today.

Maggi was acquired early on by Nestle in 1947.


Purina is an American Nestlé subsidiary that manufactures pet food products under the same name. The subsidiary also houses related Nestlé brands such as Friskies and Beneful.

Purina was founded in 1894 as the Robinson-Danforth Commission Company which initially focused on feeding farm animals.

It then became Ralston Purina in 1902, and almost 100 years later, merged with Nestlé’s pet food interests in a $10.3 billion deal.


Nescafé is a coffee brand that was launched in Switzerland in 1938. It was invented by research scientist Max Morgenthaler who created a coffee powder that not only captured the true aroma of the coffee bean but also preserved it for longer. 

The drink became a staple product for American soldiers in the Second World War and quickly became a hit with the public. The company now claims more than 5,500 cups of Nescafé are consumed around the world every second

Nescafé has since become an umbrella brand for numerous different instant coffee products as well as hot chocolates, coffee pods, and coffee pod machines.


Gerber is an American baby food and baby care brand that was founded in 1927 by Daniel Frank Gerber. After finding that meal preparation for his infant daughter was tedious and time-consuming, Gerber had the idea to make pre-made infant food at his family’s canning factory. 

While the company’s first product Gerber’s Strained Vegetables was a commercial failure, the logo it introduced in 1931 was more successful. The charcoal drawing of a baby’s face was popular with consumers and endures today.

Nestlé acquired Gerber in 2007 for $5.5 billion and, in the process, became the market leader in the United States for baby food.


Cheerios is a pulverized oat cereal brand manufactured by General Mills in the United States and Canada. General Mills launched the cereal as CheeriOats in May 1941, but shortened it in 1945 after rival Quaker Oats claimed it had exclusive rights to the term “oats”.

While Cheerios is positioned as a family breakfast brand, it is also a popular baby food since it contains whole grains, minerals, and vitamins with no artificial colors or flavors. 

General Mills continues to own the brand in the United States and Canada, with Nestlé manufacturing and producing it outside of North America. In the United Kingdom – second only to the United States in terms of breakfast cereal consumption – almost 5 million people consume Cheerios daily

It is also worth noting that in 2021, the second (Shreddies) and third-placed (Shredded Wheat) cereal products were also Nestlé brands.


Purina was a pet food and pet care company that was founded in 1894 by William H. Danforth. It is now a Nestlé subsidiary known as Nestlé Purina PetCare that, like Nescafé, houses various brands. Some of the more lucrative brands include:

  • Purina.
  • Purina Dog Chow.
  • Friskies.
  • Purina One.
  • Fancy Feast.
  • Dentalife. 
  • Felix, and
  • Purina Pro Plan.

In a February 2023 article, Purina PetCare Company CEO Nina Leigh Krueger noted that consumer demand for healthier, premium pet foods was a key focus area for Nestlé. 

To that end, the company predicted that the Purina One, Pro Plan, Friskies, and Fancy Feast brands alone would each be worth $2 billion by the end of 2023.

Kit Kat

Kit Kat is a brand of chocolate-covered wafer bar that was originally conceived by an employee at Rowntree’s confectionary company. Launched in 1935 as the Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp, it was renamed the Kit Kat Chocolate Crisp in 1937 and then the Kit Kat in 1944.

Nestlé acquired the brand in 1988 when it purchased Rowntree’s for around $4.5 billion. However, Rowntree’s existing arrangement with Hershey’s to produce Kit Kats in the United States means Nestlé does not own the rights to the brand in this critical market.

Key takeaways:

  • Nestlé is a Swiss multinational food and drink conglomerate that is the world’s largest publicly held food company. It was officially founded in 1905 when Henri Nestlé’s concern merged with the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company.
  • Nestlé’s brands include the Blue Bottle Coffee café chain that serves sustainable, brewed-to-order coffee in over 100 outlets. Nestlé also owns French carbonated water brand Perrier and English confectionary brand Smarties.
  • Maggie and Purina are Nestlé brands that were founded in the 1800s, with the former occurring in 1947 and marking a period of rapid growth for the company through mergers and acquisitions.

Key Highlights

  • Nestlé’s Foundation: Nestlé, the world’s largest publicly held food company, was established in 1867 by Henri Nestlé. He developed a milk-based food for infants unable to breastfeed. Concurrently, the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company was founded by Charles and George Page.
  • Merger and Rivalry: In 1875, Henri Nestlé sold his company, which was later merged with Anglo-Swiss. Over time, both companies became competitors, selling variations of each other’s products.
  • Full Formation of Nestlé: The full merger of Nestlé and Anglo-Swiss occurred in 1905. Afterward, Nestlé expanded its product offerings into chocolate, frozen food, beverages, pet food, snacks, bottled water, coffee, and tea.
  • Blue Bottle Coffee: Nestlé owns Blue Bottle Coffee, a café chain with over 100 locations in the US and Asia. They source sustainable coffee beans, roast them fresh, and offer a bean subscription service, aligning with their commitment to carbon neutrality.
  • Perrier: Perrier is a French mineral water brand known for its carbonation and iconic green bottle. It originates from a naturally carbonated spring in southern France and is available in various flavors.
  • Smarties: Smarties are colorful sugar-coated chocolate buttons initially manufactured by Rowntree’s. Nestlé acquired Rowntree’s in 1988, and while Smarties are popular in Europe, Canada, the Middle East, and Australasia, the brand has different ownership in the United States.
  • Maggi: Maggi, founded in 1884, offers various noodle, instant soup, and seasoning products. It was established by Julius Maggi to improve nutritional standards for busy working-class families. Nestlé acquired Maggi in 1947.
  • Purina: Purina, a pet food and care brand, was founded in 1894 and merged with Nestlé’s pet food interests in 2001. It includes brands like Purina Dog Chow, Friskies, Purina One, Fancy Feast, and more.
  • Nescafé: Nescafé, introduced in 1938, is a popular coffee brand. It was invented by Max Morgenthaler and became a staple for American soldiers during World War II. Nescafé has a variety of instant coffee products and related items.
  • Gerber: Gerber, founded in 1927 by Daniel Gerber, is known for its baby food and care products. The company’s iconic baby logo has endured since its introduction in 1931. Nestlé acquired Gerber in 2007.
  • Cheerios: Cheerios is a pulverized oat cereal brand owned by General Mills in North America, while Nestlé manufactures it outside the region. It’s recognized as a family breakfast brand and a popular choice for baby food due to its nutritional value.
  • Kit Kat: Kit Kat, a chocolate-covered wafer bar, was originally created by Rowntree’s. Nestlé acquired the brand in 1988, but due to prior agreements, Kit Kat is produced by Hershey’s in the US.

Read Next: Nestlé Business Model.

Related Visual Stories

Who Owns Nestlé


Nestlé Business Model

Nestlé Revenue

Nesté generated CHF 94.4 billion in 2022, compared to CHF 87 billion in 2021 and over CHF 84 billion in 2021.

Nestlé Profits

Nestlé generated CHF 13.9 billion in operating profits in 2022, compared to CHF 12.16 in 2021 and CHF 14.23 billion in 2020.

Nestlé Revenue Breakdown

Nestlé is a powerhouse in the consumer space, owning multiple brands. In 2022, most of the company’s revenue came from the powdered and liquid beverages segment, followed by pet care, nutrition & health science, and prepared dishes.

Nestlé Cost Structure

Nestlé’s cost structure is skewed toward marketing and distribution for its consumer brands. Its most substantial segment is the powder and liquid beverages business, which in 2022, for instance, on an over 25 billion Swiss Franc revenue, generated over 5 billion in operating profits.

Nestlé Employees

Nestlé had 275,000 employees in 2022, compared to 276,000 in 2021 and 273,000 in 2020.

Nestlé Revenue Per Employee

Nestlé generated over 340K Swiss Francs per employee in 2022, compared to over 315K in 2021 and over 308K in 2020.

Nespresso Revenue

Nespresso is one of the key brands part of the Nestlé family of consumer brands. Nespresso generated over 6.4 billion Swiss Franc revenue in 2022 (over $7 billion).

Nespresso Profits


About The Author

Scroll to Top