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Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

Merger of rivals for quick growth

Anglo-Swiss and Nestlé joined hands in 1905 after intense rivalry of almost four decades, during which time both were selling versions of products the other was best known for

In 1866, brothers Charles and George Page established Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company, which sold condensed milk under a milkmaid logo. In 1867, pharmacist Henri Nestlé launched his brand of infant food—‘farine lactée’ (milk flour) in Switzerland. By the next year, the rivalry between Nestlé and Anglo-Swiss grew, and both companies started selling rival versions of the other’s original products: condensed milk and infant cereal. Eventually, the rivalry died out and ended with a merger in 1905.

The big boost to the growth of the company, now known as Nestlé, however came thanks to war. The outbreak of hostilities in 1914 led to increased demand for condensed milk and chocolate. The British Army started issuing Nestlé-canned milk to soldiers in their emergency rations. But a shortage of raw materials meant challenges in production To solve this problem, the company acquired processing facilities in the US and Australia, and by the end of the war it had 40 factories.

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