Nestlé joins bid for rail services

Food and drinks giant Nestlé UK is turning to “own-label” retailing by striking exclusive supply deals through partnerships with major transport operators.

Food and drinks giant Nestlé UK is turning to “own-label” retailing by striking exclusive supply deals through partnerships with major transport operators.

The Swiss-owned company has already signed a deal with Eurotunnel to run Nescafé Coffee shops and vending machines at terminals. Now it is teaming up with a consortium bidding for the East Coast InterCity main line to offer catering facilities.

The consortium, headed by East Coast InterCity main line managers and employees – Wenfordbray – is for a franchise to run services between London and Edinburgh. The group has signed top chef Marco Pierre White as an advisor, and plans a joint venture with Nestlé UK.

The Nescafé Coffee shops sell a range of its own-brand coffees, Nestlé-Rowntree confectionery, Nestlé Lyons Maid ice cream and Herta Hot Dogs. They also sell cold drinks including Libby’s, Vittel and Perrier.

Laurie Holland, corporate affairs manager for InterCity East Coast, refuses to give details of the bid but says: “Nestlé’s involvement could be in many areas, on the platform or on the trains. Catering is an integral part of the East Coast line. The business market, particularly, expects high standards.”

Meanwhile, food and drinks rival Kraft Jacobs Suchard is preparing to defend its catering supply deals with the recently privatised British Rail company On Board Services.

Its partnership arrangements to supply trains with products such as Kenco coffee will be under threat once the network is broken up.

A spokesman says the company is looking at expanding its range of coffees on trains.

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