Cargill demonstrated an intensified commitment to innovation in food, nutrition and food safety during the final two months of 2016. The company opened two major R&D facilities in November and December—one in North America and one in China—focused on continuous improvement and investing in the future of food to meet shifting consumer expectations. These two new centers join regional food research and innovation centers in Campinas, Brazil; Vilvoorde, Belgium; Beijing, China; and Wichita, Kan., as well as local food application facilities, animal nutrition research centers and product development centers around the world.
"Consumers are voting with their values on a wide range of quickly emerging food issues," said Ruth Kimmelshue, corporate senior vice president for Business Operations and Supply Chain at Cargill. "We have to anticipate what the world wants to eat and what the future of nutrition is going to look like to help our customers succeed and meet consumer demand. These new R&D facilities will help us do just that."
The Minneapolis Research and Development Center, located in Plymouth, Minn., is a $25 million, 100,000 square foot facility featuring molecular biology labs, advanced analytical and materials research laboratories, test kitchens and a pilot production plant. The center is home to about 200 scientists working on projects to transform the marketplace, from improving food safety to developing new food ingredients that meet consumer expectations for simple, nutritious options. The project builds on Cargill's 2014 investment in a Food Innovation Center, also in Plymouth, where food science teams develop innovative edible oils products and solutions for bakery, snacks, cereals and foodservice customers.
The Cargill ONE Innovation Center, located in Shanghai, is a 22,000 square foot facility with a sensory lab, demonstration kitchen and capabilities for dairy, beverage, bakery, convenience food and culinary applications. More than 25 scientists on site will create innovative menu solutions that combine consumer insights, trend forecasts and culinary expertise to serve as the incubator for future tastes. The location will also be used as a platform to educate the public on nutrition and food safety.
"These integrated facilities give Cargill the ability to harness our global expertise in animal protein, refined oils, sweeteners, starches, cocoa, texture solutions and unique flavors in one facility, creating a new R&D footprint in the foodservice market," said Kimmelshue. "They will serve not only as innovation centers for China and North America, but will help our global community meet ever changing demands of modern consumers for taste, nutrition and safety."