1996 - 2002
The first half of the 1990s proved to be a favorable time for Nestlé: trade barriers crumbled and world economic markets developed into a series of more or less integrated trading areas. The opening of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as China, and a general trend towards liberalization of direct foreign investment was good news for a company with interests as far-flung and diverse as Nestlé. While progress since then has not been as encouraging, the overall trends remain positive.
In July 2000, Nestlé launched a Group-wide initiative called GLOBE (Global Business Excellence), aimed at harmonizing and simplifying business process architecture; enabling Nestlé to realize the advantages of a global leader while minimizing the drawbacks of size.
There were two major acquisitions in North America in 2002: in July, Nestlé announced that the U.S. ice cream business was to be merged into Dreyer's, and in August, a USD 2.6bn acquisition was announced of Chef America, Inc. , a leading U.S.-based hand-held frozen food product business.Also in 2002, the joint venture Dairy Partners Americas was set up with Fonterra; and Laboratoires innéov was set up, another joint venture, this time with L'Oréal.