SINGAPORE February 2020
 
Bühler partners Givaudan to open Innovation Center dedicated to plant-based food
 
Bühler and Givaudan, both giants in their own fields of food technology and flavors respectively, are forming a ‘synergistic’ partnership to build an Innovation Center in Singapore dedicated to plant-based food.
The new facility, to be located at Givaudan Woodlands site, is slated to be opened in final quarter 2020, and will be jointly operated by the 2 companies, bringing together a pilot plant featuring Bühler extrusion and processing equipment and a kitchen and flavor laboratory by Givaudan.
The Innovation Center welcomes food processing companies, start-ups and university researchers willing to develop novel plant-based food products. Bühler’s equipment and processing expertise combined with Givaudan’s flavor, taste, ingredient, and product development expertise will create a unique offering and synergy that will be greatly advantageous to those developing new products, particularly when using wet or dry extrusion.
According to Ian Roberts, CTO of Bühler, “The projected global population of 10 billion by 2050 is a challenge too big to be solved alone. Companies are increasingly aware of the urgent need to collaborate to make an impact on the climate and nutrition challenges of this century. Universities, start-ups, and companies need to come together to innovate and find more sustainable ways to produce food. This is what this Innovation Center is all about, and we are pleased we found a like-minded partner to bring this vision to life in Asia, home to half of the world’s population.”
Fabio Campanile, Head of Science and Technology at Givaudan said, “We see a lot of market potential for plant-based products in the coming years in Asia, in particular, the alternative meat sector. Our combined expertise in the development and manufacture of plant-based foods will allow for new ranges that cater to Asia tastes, texture expectations and cooking techniques. The initial focus on extruded products is important as this is a key technology for developing authentic meat alternatives. It is also a great strength for Givaudan – we’ve optimised the flavor and taste aspects and are able to make these extruded products extremely delicious and nutritious to consumers.”
Dominique Kull, Head of Technology Southeast Asia and Pacific of Bühler Group further elaborated that the innovation center will be focusing on texturised vegetable proteins, also known as ‘textrudates’, composed mainly from proteins sourced from plants, pulses, and even insects which can be used as meat alternatives or extenders. He said, “After the proteins are extracted from their sources, they are mixed in with other ingredients and undergo a process called extrusion in order to create the desired texture. The new innovation centre will allow food manufacturers or start-ups to experiment with using different ingredients, extrusion parameters to bring their envisioned products into reality at an industrial scale.”
Dominique said that the new innovation center is not the first partnership between the 2 companies as both had collaborated before in Europe, however this is the 1st initiative with Givaudan in Asia and also the 1st partnership to set up an innovation center.
With growing sustainability concerns, many governments across the globe are stepping up efforts to support their plant-based food industry to ensure better food security in their countries. Dominique added that in Singapore, for example, its government had announced a ’30 by 30’ goal to produce 30% of Singapore’s nutritional needs locally by 2030. With traditional animal-based food production requiring relatively more land and energy resources that are already scarce in the country, plant-based food may serve as an attractive alternative option.
One major challenge faced by plant-based meat alternative producers is to match their product prices to real meat products. Dominique said this price gap could become smaller with the new innovation center featuring pilot plant extruder that will facilitate plant-based meat producers to industrialise and scale up their products while maintaining product consistency in terms of taste and quality. He concluded, “With economies of scale, they will then be able to lower their cost of production.”
The new innovation center project will be featured at a Protein Pavilion in Future Food Asia event which will be held from 2 to 3 June in Singapore.
 

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