Dutch dairy co-operative Royal FrieslandCampina is building a new €16m research and development (R&D) centre to target innovation in consumer products and ingredients.
Due to open in the second half of 2012, the new 15,000m2 centre, based on the campus of Wageningen University & Research Centre, will comprise research facilities, laboratories, a pilot plant and offices.
It will provide the dairy giant with 3,300m2 of laboratory space, while the pilot plant will occupy 1,800m2; there will also be a test bakery and a 5,000m2 office complex.
FrieslandCampina manufactures products for sale in over 100 countries: everything from dairy-based ingredients to baby food, milk-based drinks, cheese, fruit-based beverages and yoghurt.
A new onsite ‘experience centre’ will allow products developed in these areas to be tasted, smelt and touched, whilst the new building will also generate sustainable energy via a heat exchanger and (potentially) solar panels.
Royal FrieslandCampina spokeswoman Ria van der Peet told FoodNavigator.com: “The building has still to be realised, but the experience centre will allow both our customers and the public to realise the wonderful natural power of milk.
“We’re concentrating all our knowledge of food ingredients in one place – and in The Netherlands the region is known as ‘food valley’ – to bring all our reseaerch specialities together.”
Van der Peet said the new centre had been driven less by the company’s stated desire to innovate than the aim of consolidating its R&D operations; current research is also undertaken at sites in Tilburg and Wageningen, from where staff will relocate when the centre opens .
Active in the hotel and catering, bakery and foodservice industries, FrieslandCampina aims to grow its specialist ingredients business by 5 per cent a year, which reflects a shift away from its traditional bulk products such as milk- or whey powder.
The co-operative is also targeting sales of more branded consumer products in more European, Asian and African countries, by catering for strong worldwide growth in dairy-based beverages, branded cheeses and infant/toddler nutrition ingredients.
Cees ’t Hart, Royal FrieslandCampina’s CEO said: “Achieving breakthrough innovations in consumer products, ingredients and processes is vital to help consumers and customers further, and to better valorise the milk of our members."
With a turnover of 8.2bn in 2009, FrieslandCampina employs 20,000 staff across 24 countries.