Bühler creates food innovation hub offering key new industry facilities, including chocolate confectionery development
Buher is creating new food hub innovation facilities at its Uzwil, site including protein, confectionery and snacks capabilities. Pic: Buhler
A range of advanced new facilities have been delivered by the Bühler Swiss-based equipment and industry technology and solutions group, with its new food innovation hub in Uzwil, Switzerland, including significant potential for confectionery and chocolate product development, reports Neill Barston.
According to the business, its four new application centres, including components dedicated to flavour creation, food creation, protein application and energy recovery, are set to open their doors to its customers, complementing its existing capabilities such as its existing extrusion facility.
Significantly, its teams have asserted that its expanded capabilities have now enable it to provide a full ‘one-stop-shop’ for a wide range of manufacturers across the food and drink sector, further cementing its relationships within the industry in supply the full value chain.
As the company added, is new food centre will accommodate a broad range of customer requests, from snack bars, wafers, biscuits, crackers, any variety of baked goods, or chocolate products. The 850 square metre facility combines cutting-edge technology, analytical services, product and process development, workshops, and trainings.
Moreover, the business, which now has a total of 23 application sites around the world, noted, its new “ATCs’ span the entire value chain and enable a circular economy approach to food production, designed to enable its customers to tackle present and future challenges within food production, including confectionery and snacks production.
This was in evidence this month at Gulfood Manufacturing, where the firm’s team placed a focus on a number of areas of its technology capability, such as its advanced ChocoX chocolate moulding line. (See our exclusive Gulfood video review featuring Daniel Keller, Bühler’s region manager, here).
Johannes Wick, CEO of Grains & Food at Bühler Group welcomed the development of its extended facilities, which further augment its recently developed Cubic innovation hub at its Uzwil headquarters, which has already reaped notable benefit for the business.
He said: “In this world where requirements are changing so fast, customers need flexibility and creativity to adapt their products addressing key issues such as sustainability, the use of local raw materials, healthy diets, and affordability,”
“With the completion of the new Application & Training Centers we are able to cover the entire scope of production, from different raw materials to multiple types of finished products. We can offer our customers enormous flexibility and the options they need to disrupt their markets.”
Its global network of facilities have continued to expand, bringing together new business partners, academy, start-ups, and suppliers, with the goal of offering a state-of-the-art setup for customers to drive innovation. In October, along with the Institute of Food Technology (Ital), the FoodTech HUB Latam, Cargill, and Givaudan, Bühler opened the Tropical Food Innovation Lab in Brazil. This innovation ecosystem develops sustainable food and beverages while promoting biodiversity in Brazil.
“The opening of the Application & Training Centres is a milestone in our journey to support our customers and partners, to create a more sustainable food system,” added Ian Roberts, CTO at Bühler Group. “At the new ATCs customers have access to a unique combination of technology and expertise.”
The new Protein Application Centre provides field to ingredient and consumer product process solutions under one roof. It will enable the buildup of know-how and foster the development of processes for the production of plant-based food, including meat substitutes, plant-based drinks and ingredients. Equipped with the latest wet isolation and fractionation techniques for separation of protein, starches, and fibres, it is operated in collaboration with Bühler’s partner, endeco, and will connect the Grain Innovation Center, Extrusion Application Centre, Pasta Application Centre, Food Creation Centre, Flavour Creation Centre, and Energy Recovery Centre.
The Extrusion Application Center, which runs 80 to 90 trials per year, will link closely into the new Protein Application Center enabling a unique opportunity to optimize the full process solution from raw materials through consumer products. In this multi-purpose laboratory customers can conduct tests on food and animal feed, test new recipes, product shapes, and textures.
At the Flavour Creation Centre, Bühler’s proven expertise in processing, roasting and grinding cocoa beans, nuts, and coffee is combined in one place to create unmatched flavors and exquisite products. The centre, which has been processing coffee since 2013 and cocoa and nuts since 2022, has been upgraded and renovated. It offers product innovation, training, process optimisation, raw material analyses and operates in line with Bühler’s Chocolate Application Centre, Food Creation Centre, and Energy Recovery Centre.
Together, the application and training Centres in Uzwil produce about 550 tons of biomass annually. To make optimum use of the waste and by-products generated by the ATCs, Bühler and its strategic partner, Vyncke, have built the Energy Recovery Centre, which serves as a heating facility for Bühler’s headquarters. The Energy Recovery Centre also works as a demonstration and testing platform for customers who want to reduce CO2 footprint, waste production, and energy costs by using side streams.
“The energy generation from biomass as an integrated part of process solutions for food has not been systematically developed and therefore has an enormously high potential, both from a business and sustainability perspective,” says Johannes Wick. “The Bühler-Vyncke Energy Recovery Centre is an important step for us in implementing our sustainability goals and is intended to serve as an example for energy recovery options in food and feed production.”