ADM and Marel open innovation center to meet demands of growing alternative proteins market
08 Mar 2023 --- The partners aim to prototype, manufacture and market alternative protein products and pilot processing techniques in collaboration with food manufacturers, food scientists, extrusion experts and culinary professionals. Set to open in the second half of 2024, the center will be located in the Dutch food valley in Wageningen.
“Diversifying protein offerings with alternative sources is increasingly important to establish a secure food system and help feed a growing population,” Allyson Fish tells NutritionInsight, president of Global Alternative Proteins at ADM.
“We’re continuing to make strategic investments and partnerships, including our joint venture with Marel, to drive the alternative protein space forward. From advancements in technologies like precision fermentation to using niche sources like insects, we’re investing in future-forward solutions that support a more resilient food system.”
Jesper Hjortshoj, vice president of business development at Marel and president of Wenger (a subsidiary of Marel), tells us, “Our goal is to support the rapidly growing plant-based food market globally. We look forward to working alongside our customers to innovate products that meet evolving consumer needs.”
Partners with common goal
Hjortshoj notes that Marel's long-standing relationship with ADM is the foundation of the partnership.
Fish adds, “We have long valued our partnership with Wenger/Marel. We continue to have a common goal – to lead the food industry in bringing nutritious and delicious products to people around the globe.”
“We’re bringing together our ingredient portfolio, which includes quality, clean-tasting and neutral-in-color plant proteins, vertically integrated supply chains and a global team of expert scientists and formulators with Marel’s food processing equipment, software and services, along with Wenger’s extrusion and drying systems.”
Taste and texture innovations
At the center, ADM and Marel aim to collaborate with customers from concept to commercialization, adds Fish. It will focus on “novel protein sources and processing techniques to produce new product offerings across food categories.”
Hjortshoj adds that the taste and texture-focused innovation center will help the companies enter new, emerging market segments.
“With our downstream processing capabilities, the center will use equipment from Marel and Wenger, enabling innovation and creation from raw ingredients through the extrusion process, right up to finished products.”
ADM and Marel will offer training and workshops to inspire next-generation solutions with a sensory experience that supports the growing consumer demand for various protein offerings.
Alternative protein market
Plant-based proteins offer a more sustainable option for consumers than traditional protein sources. In recent years, companies and researchers have identified various sources for alternative proteins, such as insects, grass and cabbage.
“As the alternative protein space evolves to address the rising demand for expanded protein choices, taste and texture continue to be hurdles for garnering consumer retention,” notes Fish.
Hjortshoj adds, “Marel and Wenger together offer complementary technologies and products that enable end-to-end process solutions for customers producing plant-based foods and alternative proteins.”
Until the new taste and texture innovation center opens in 2024, ADM will occupy a temporary laboratory at the Wageningen campus to support customer development projects.
Recently, ADM also announced plans to expand its pro- and postbiotic production by opening a facility in Spain.
By Jolanda van Hal
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