Nestle has a very close relationship with the town of Vevey. Its HQ, located in the town, has the Alimentarium on the lakefront, two product discount shops, and there was the Nestle. I write ” was ” for when this report is published in the Bulletin the company will be in the process of actively closing this interactive museum, the premises soon to become the new HQ for subsidiary, Nespresso.
When I arranged this event last October, the news of the closure had not been announced. On the day we held our Christmas lunch the place was nearly empty of other visitors. It seemed to have closed already with minimal staff, and what I perceived was some rather long faces.
But notwithstanding that, 29 of us were in the party mood and began with an apero in the huge cathedral like entry foyer, prior to lunch. A couple of speeches made, toasts offered, wishing each other seasonal greetings, and exhortations to refill wine glasses we proceeded into lunch at the Cafe Henri.
Afterwards, we took the audio interactive tour. Earphones inserted, we individually immersed ourselves in the history, production, culture, and philosophy of this industrial giant. Interactive exhibits included, coffee, infant nutrition, pet food, and bottled water production. There was a virtual reality experience, where one strapped on a rather large elaborate headset, a first time encounter with virtual reality for many members.
I now know that Nestle produces eight of the thirty top selling confectionary brands, namely Quality Street, Aero, Smarties, Polo, Rowntree fruit pastilles, Milky Bar, After Eights, not forgetting KitKat. In the museum was a container filled to the brim with them, and it did not take long for BRA members to realize that with no one supervising they could take as many as they wanted after solving a simple puzzle and code. Pockets crammed, handbags bulging, none of us departed short of chocolate supplies for Christmas stockings and welcome ” cookie ” jars.