New Bühler Food Innovation Center opens

UZWIL, SWITZERLAND — Bühler has opened a new food innovation center in Uzwil, Switzerland, bringing together a range of capabilities in one location.

Four Application and Training Centers — Flavor Creation Center, Food Creation Center, Protein Application Center and Energy Recovery Center — are opening for customers and will complement the company’s existing centers.

“In this world where demands are changing so quickly, customers need flexibility and creativity to adapt their products to key issues such as sustainability, use of local ingredients, healthy diets and affordability,” said Johannes Wick, CEO of Grains & Food in the Bühler Group. “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 tremendous flexibility and the options they need to disrupt their markets.”

Bühler has application and training centers in 23 locations worldwide — some of which cover multiple industrial applications.

With the opening of the new Aroma Creation Center, Food Creation Center, Protein Application Center and Energy Recovery Center, along with the application and training centers already operating in Uzwil, the site has become a one-stop shop for customers of Bühler worldwide, the company said.

“The opening of the application and training centers is a milestone in our journey to support our customers and partners to create a more sustainable food system,” said Ian Roberts, Chief Technology Officer at Bühler Group. “With the new ATCs, customers have access to a unique combination of technology and expertise.”

The new protein application center provides field-to-ingredient and consumer product process solutions under one roof, Buhler said. The center will enable the accumulation of know-how and promote the development of processes for the production of plant-based foods, including meat substitutes, beverages and plant-based ingredients.

Bühler manages the center in cooperation with endeco. The facility is equipped with the latest wet isolation and fractionation techniques to separate proteins, starches and fibers and will connect the Grain Innovation Center, the Extrusion Application Center, the Pasta Application Center, the Food Creation Center, the for the creation of aromas and the Center for the utilization of energy.

The Extrusion Application Center, which conducts 80 to 90 trials per year, will link closely with the new Protein Application Center. In this multipurpose lab, customers can run food and animal feed tests, test new recipes, product shapes and textures, Buehler said.

The Aroma Creation Center, which has been processing coffee since 2013 and cocoa and nuts since 2022, has been modernized and renovated. It offers product innovation, training, process optimization, raw material analysis and works in conjunction with Bühler’s Chocolate Application Center, Food Creation Center and Energy Recovery Center, the company notes.

The Food Creation Center has been developed to support customers throughout the innovation and industrialization process for a wide range of products, including snack bars, biscuits, crackers, baked foods or chocolate products.

The centers in Uzwil produce around 550 tonnes of biomass per year, according to Bühler. Bühler and its strategic partner Vyncke built an Energy Recovery Center that serves as a heating facility for Bühler’s headquarters.

The Energy Recovery Center also works as a demonstration and test platform for customers looking to reduce CO22 footprint, waste production and energy costs by using side streams.

“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,” said Mr 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.”

Bühler said the Grinding Solutions division has started working with other company business units to build a new Grain Innovation Center (GIC) in Uzwil. The new GIC will enable Bühler and its customers and partners to develop, test and scale sustainable and efficient grain and feed processing solutions to improve food and feed solutions, the company said.

GIC’s focus will be on yield, quality, energy efficiency and plant versatility along with nutritious and great tasting recipes based on a wide variety of grains and pulses. The GIC is expected to be operational by the end of 2024.

Meanwhile, a new Grain Processing Innovation Center (GPIC) in Kano, Nigeria is also under construction and is due to open in early 2024. The center will be focused on developing products, recipes and processes using local grains , such as sorghum, millet, maize (corn), soybeans, beans and tigernuts, Buhler said.

“More than the impressive capacity of each new application and learning center we’ve invested in, they’re built to work in an integrated way, offering an end-to-end process so customers can get the most out of it and achieve tangible and remarkable results,” Mr Wick said.

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