Cargill set to expand its Mouscron innovation facilities with new House of Chocolate

Construction has started on a major project for Cargill, which is set to deliver a €21 million investment in creating a House of Chocolate innovation facility at its Mouscron site in Belgium, reports Neill Barston

As the company revealed, the expansion of its capabilities is being created to enhance its direct customer experiences, including an advanced pilot plant, sensory lab and additional workspace for the company’s European team of research and development engineers.

The new 700 square metre complex is being built alongside the present plant, which the business believes will provide a strong focus for delivering new products for the confectionery sector, in response to consumer demand for ever-more variety, including healthier options within the global market.

Earlier this year, Confectionery Production visited Cargill’s Mouscron site, which has served as a key site for more than 15 years, deals with a range leading international confectionery businesses.

It has recently upgraded its state-of-the-art facilities with a multi-million investment in producing sugar-reduced chocolate ranges. This followed an initial addition to the location with a €12 million development of a liquid chocolate production line in 2018, which further expanded its capabilities.

“Innovation stands at the forefront of our House of Chocolate, as we bring together all our expertise and resources,” said Harold Poelma, President of Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. “It will allow us to collaborate with customers at every step of their product development journey, transforming ideas into reality using a streamlined approach to facilitate innovation and deliver greater efficiency and speed to market”.

As the company, which is sponsoring the World Confectionery Conference, added, its House of Chocolate brings three critical functions under one roof. At the company’s chocolate experience centre, customers can gain inspiration from Cargill’s gourmet chocolate chefs, brainstorm new product concepts and elevate their chocolate knowledge through in-depth training sessions.

Furthermore, the on-site pilot plant allows product developers to test their concepts through small-scale production runs that replicate the manufacturing conditions of industrial lines, while the in-house sensory lab ensures those products deliver on consumers’ expectations for taste, visual appearance, texture and more.

Staffed by a team of more than 40 chocolate engineers, including sensory experts, technical service specialists and R&D scientists, the new facility will serve as the hub for all of Cargill’s chocolate, coating and filling activities.

“It’s fitting we make this investment in Belgium, given the unique place it holds in the chocolate world,” said Inge Demeyere, managing director for Cargill Chocolate Europe.

“Our House of Chocolate builds on that rich tradition, offering customers a unique venue to discover all that’s possible with our state-of-the-art capabilities and our broad range of brands including Cargill, Veliche Gourmet and Smet.

Construction has now begun, with its pilot centre scheduled to open in autumn 2021. The chocolate experience centre and sensory lab will be operational in Jan 2022. The new complex will create around 10 new jobs.

The global agri-business, which now employs 160,000 people around the world across its related operations, has maintained a strong commitment to sustainable practices. Its latest facility feature technology to reduce its ecological footprint, including the use of geothermal energy to significantly reduce energy consumption.

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