PETALING JAYA: For Swiss-based Nestlé Group, one of the secrets to being a successful global food company is appreciating local flavours and tastes.

“When it comes to our business, all food business is local. You have a global world, but food is still very local,” said Nestle Malaysia managing director Alois Hofbauer in an interview.

For instance, Nestlé Malaysia’s popular MAGGI instant noodles have different flavours in Sabah and Sarawak than it has in Peninsular Malaysia.

Hofbauer believes that businesses must not only respect local cultures but also have an immersive experience of local cultures where they operate.

“Most Malaysians, if you ask them about Milo, they will believe that Milo is a pure Malaysian brand. They believe that MAGGI is a Malaysian brand,” he said.

Hofbauer said Nestle, a company from the small country of Switzerland, was able to expand overseas because it always believed that it had much to learn from the world.

“That is the difference between companies coming from big places. We come from a place where we don’t believe we have it all, or we know it all. So, we basically go and we learn. We immerse and we learn from the places, we adapt to these places,” said Hofbauer, who has been based in Malaysia for the past four years.

He also is proud of the fact that Nestlé citizens from Malaysia are much sought after talents and they enjoy the opportunities to work overseas within the group.

“We have a lot of our people in Switzerland and in other parts of Asia. Malaysia is not only providing great products to the rest of the Nestlé world but also providing great talent,” said Hofbauer.