The move comes at roughly the same time as the company’s $60m expansion of three cultures production sites in Europe as a response to increasing demand for frozen and freeze-dried starter cultures from the global yogurt, fresh fermented, and cheese markets.
Prioritization on cheese and dairy industries
The company serves the cheese and dairy industry with its portfolio of cultures, enzymes, and tailored ingredient systems. The investment in R&D capabilities fits into DuPont’s overall strategic prioritization of the cheese and dairy industry.
“This adds to our already differentiated route to market through our dairy and cheese industry teams,” DuPont Nutrition & Health director of dairy sales, North America, Roald Mason, told DairyReporter.
In addition to expanded physical space at the Kansas City metro area lab, new equipment has been installed, including three bio fermenters to simulate external pH control starter production, an incubator for growing cultures, a cheese vat for making cheese, and two environmental cabinets for aging cheese.
“All of the lab equipment is completely new for the lab and the site,” Mason said.
DuPont has also added two professionals to its cheese industry innovation team.
According to Mason, the new capabilities at its pilot plant will allow DuPont Nutrition & Health to work and collaborate with its customers in a more direct and active way.
“These improvements not only allow us to optimize our current cultures offerings and tailor them to our individual customers, but also equip us to develop new retail and finished products,” Mason said.
Achieving a ‘self-sufficient operation’
Prior to the expansion and installation of new equipment, the DuPont team in Kansas City had to work with the company’s R&D facility in Madison, Wisconsin, which had the necessary equipment.
“This now makes the lab a self-sufficient operation to support our growing cultures and media product portfolio. We can now not only operate faster, but also get hands-on in most aspects of the cheese making process,” Mason said.
Previously, testing at the facility was limited to a lab environment. With these upgrades, the facility is now equipped to test cultures in real world environments, as well as to manufacture and age cheese.