With the new facility, AFI said it is able to intensify its innovation efforts in its core markets in Europe, China and the Americas - and beyond.
The new center has a total size of 9,000m2, and will be home to up to 100 scientists and technicians, who will have access to laboratories for clinical trials, a pilot plant and office spaces. Here, they will cover all aspects of research and development within whey and milk – from advanced separation technology to improved functionality and shelf-life.
Niels Østergaard, VP R&D at AFI, said, “I am very proud and have been looking forward to this day when we open our new Arla Foods Ingredients Innovation Centre. It will deliver a huge boost to our research and development capabilities, and we’re incredibly excited about the possibilities it offers. Working with our scientific and industry partners, we’ll be able to undertake more research, embark on ambitious new projects, and innovate to tackle some of the world’s most urgent food and nutrition challenges.”
The center is located next to Danmark Protein – AFI’s flagship production plant that produces whey protein concentrate and lactose products, including for infant nutrition. The location is key for success, AFI said, as it closes the gap between innovation and full scale production.
Østergaard said, “It was vital for us for the Innovation Centre to be at the heart of our supply chain. This is the closest to the highest quality raw materials that it could possibly be, enabling us to fine-tune ideas and scale them up in one quick and streamlined process. This is truly living up to our purpose of delivering the wonders of whey.”
The facility is also designed to create synergies between university researchers, PhD students and industry professionals. Partners will include academic institutions in Denmark (like the Copenhagen and Aarhus universities) and overseas (including UC Davis), as well as technology suppliers and AFI’s customers in the food and nutrition industries.
AFI already has its first new innovation ready based on the Open Innovation concept that will be at the heart of the new Innovation Centre. AFI launches a new protein category, Lacprodan BLG-100. Produced using a patented new separation technology, the Lacprodan BLG-100 can be used to minimize the loss of muscle mass and help sustain physical mobility with patients and elderly.
The new Innovation Centre is next step for Arla’s innovation ambitions. In 2017, it opened its first innovation center in the heart of one of the world’s fastest growing food clusters in Aarhus, Denmark. The Arla Innovation Centre (AIC) is at the forefront of retail and foodservice product development, emerging production technologies and bridging the gap between scientists, customers and consumers while the new innovation centre focuses on specialized products and ingredients within dairy and whey.