Bühler elevates plant-based foods and sustainability with new innovation center

(All image credits: Bühler)

November 20, 2023 — The Bühler Technology Group has launched an innovation center in Uzwil, Switzerland. This new development integrates four specialized Application and Training Centers (ATC) – Flavor Creation Center, Food Creation Center, Protein Application Center and Energy Recovery Center – under one roof.

These centers join existing facilities such as the Extrusion Center, enabling Bühler to further its innovation in food production.

“With the completion of the new application and training centers, we are able to cover the entire scope of production, from various raw materials to multiple types of finished products. We can offer our customers enormous flexibility and the options they need to disrupt their markets,” notes Johannes Wick, CEO of Grains and Foods at Bühler Group.

“Customers need flexibility and creativity to adapt their products to key issues such as sustainability, use of local ingredients, healthy diets and affordability.”

Recent expansions include the Tropical Food Innovation Lab in Brazil, a joint effort with the Institute of Food Technology (Italy), Foodtech Hub Latam, Cargill and Givaudan, focused on sustainable food and beverage development that promotes biodiversity.

Stimulating food innovation and development
As plant-based foods emerge as nutritious and sustainable substitutes that offer companies profitable opportunities, ATCs also seek to accelerate the development of plant-based food production processes. This includes meat substitutes, beverages and plant-based ingredients, in line with the growing demand for healthy diet choices.

Equipped with wet isolation and fractionation techniques to separate proteins, starches and fibers, the protein application center works in collaboration with Bühler’s partner, Endeco.

The Aroma Creation Center boasts expertise in cocoa, nut and coffee processing, offering aromas and product development.

Meanwhile, the food creation center will support customers throughout the innovation and industrialization process, integrating technology, analytical services, product and process development, workshops and training.One checks the flavor ingredients.The Aroma Creation Center, which has been processing coffee since 2013 and cocoa and nuts since 2022, has been modernized and renovated.

Sustainable solutions to food waste
According to recent UN figures, 13% of the world’s food production is lost between harvest and retail, posing a threat to the sustainability of international food systems. The consequences of this waste extend beyond pure waste, as throwing food into landfills contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating climate change.

Recognizing this problem, technology, innovative solutions and retractable food processing systems have been promoted in managing food quality and reducing loss and waste.

Ian Roberts, CTO of the Bühler Group, emphasizes: “The opening of ATCs is a milestone in our journey to support our customers and partners to create a more sustainable food system. “

In order to make optimal use of the waste and by-products generated by ATC, Bühler and its strategic partner Vyncke established an Energy Recovery Center. This facility serves as a heating solution for Bühler’s plant and functions as a demonstration and test platform for customers looking to reduce their CO2 footprint, waste production and energy costs by utilizing by-products generated by ATC.

“Biomass energy production as an integrated part of food technology solutions has not been systematically developed and therefore has extremely high potential, both from a business and sustainability perspective,” says Johannes Wick.

“The Bühler-Vyncke Energy Recovery Center is an important step for us in fulfilling our sustainability goals and is intended to serve as an example of energy recovery opportunities in food and feed production.”

By Sichong Wang

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