(Bloomberg) --

Nestle SA forecast that its health nutrition business will reach about 4 billion Swiss francs ($4.4 billion) by the end of next year as the world’s largest food company expands in personalized supplements and allergy treatments.

“Our Nestle Health Science unit has been on a tear even before the pandemic,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Schneider said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Francine Lacqua. That amount of revenue would be double the level about five years ago.

Sales growth has been strong, especially in vitamins, minerals and supplements. “This is going to be one of our key growth drivers.”

Nestle last month agreed to buy Aimmune Therapeutics Inc. for $2.6 billion in its biggest push yet into health science, adding a promising peanut allergy treatment to its offering. That follows the $2.3 billion purchase of Canadian supplements maker Atrium Innovations in 2018.

“There is a renewed interest in health and nutrition that advances health and strengthens the immune system,” Schneider said. “I think this is here to stay, certainly throughout the later stages of this pandemic, and we believe also beyond that.”

The supplement market is developing quickly, the CEO said.

“Personalized vitamins, minerals, and supplements are going to be the nextfrontier,” he said, adding Nestle is working on some new offerings. “You aremoving away from just straightforward supplements, like what I call the vitaminalphabet -- A, B, C or D -- and you are going to specifically what the certainindividual requires.”

That will involve initial testing and a questionnaire, he said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.