Givaudan and Bühler target plant-based ranges with new Singapore protein innovation centre

The Givaudan taste and wellbeing group has teamed up with equipment and systems business Bühler to unveil the APAC Protein Innovation Centre in Singapore for plant-based product development, writes Neill Barston.

As the companies explained, the new facilities will support the development of food ranges, amid key growth in healthier snack and confectionery ranges during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Based at the Givaudan Woodlands site, the Protein Innovation Centre is jointly run and supported by experts from both companies and will benefit from direct connection to a major network of R&D innovation centres in Switzerland and key hubs across the region that will enable global production of plant-based series.

Significantly, the new facility will welcome a dynamic mix of  food processing companies, start-ups and university researchers from across the Asia Pacific (APAC) region keen to co-create new product series that are both nutritious and distinctive in their taste. The Centre combines the pilot technology of Bühler’s extrusion and processing equipment with Givaudan’s new culinary facilities and expertise in flavour, taste, ingredient, and product development.

Among the equipment at the site will be a pilot scale wet and dry extruder, advanced product development kitchen, storage facilities, meeting amenities and a viewing area where visitors may tour the 400-square-meter facility and view live demonstrations.

The centre is constructed with the end-to-end process of plant-based protein production in mind. Businesses will also benefit from support throughout the co-creation process, from raw material selection to product development and research, to application, flavour science, extrusion, and consumer testing.

It is anticipated that customers can develop high-quality products suitable for Asian culinary applications at scale. The facility can produce up to 40 kilograms of plant proteins an hour and features dry extrusion, as well as a newer wet extrusion technology that delivers a fibrous structure more akin to muscle, and higher protein content as compared with dry extruded products.

Monila Kothari (below), APAC President, Givaudan Taste & Wellbeing, welcomed the facility’s development, praising Singapore as being ‘a hotbed for FoodTech Innovation.”

“We are proud to be part of a partnership that will contribute towards a sustainable food future for Singapore and the APAC region. Through the Protein Innovation Centre, we aim to create an ecosystem that supports start-ups and food businesses in an environment of co-creation.

“The Centre will provide them access to the expertise, networks and technology required to create authentic plant-based protein alternatives that meet consumer needs and expectations. By bringing flavour solutions that are vegetarian, vegan, plant-based and natural, as well as technologies such as wet extrusion to Singapore and the region,” she explained, adding that the venture aims to. help make plant-based foods more delicious, authentic, and accessible to business and consumers.

Ian Roberts, Chief Technology Officer at Bühler, added: “Great tasting and sustainable protein alternatives are an important contributor to feeding 10 billion people sustainably by 2050. The changes that need to happen to our protein value chains prior to that are so deep, they can only be achieved if the various partners of the food ecosystem start working together today.

“The Protein Innovation Centre that we open today with Givaudan at the core of Southeast Asia’s vibrant food ecosystem, is a step towards achieving our vision of a collaborative and sustainable future of food. The Protein Innovation Centre will not only enable the development of more plant-based protein products across Asia, it will also ensure delicious products can be scaled to the production volumes required to create a positive environmental impact on our food chains.”

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