Bühler opens new centre to promote innovation in the plant-based food sector

December 1, 2023

Bühler, the Swiss company that manufactures equipment for sectors including the food industry, has opened a centre that will help to improve processes for the production of plant-based foods.

The Protein Application Centre is one of a number of new facilities from Bühler covering different parts of the food industry.

In a statement, Bühler said that the centre, which is at the company’s global headquarters in Uzwil, Switzerland, provides “field-to-ingredient and consumer product process solutions under one roof”.

“The centre will enable the build-up of know-how and foster the development of processes for the production of plant-based food, including meat substitutes, plant-based drinks and ingredients,” the statement added.

It will be equipped with “the latest wet isolation and fractionation techniques” to separate protein, starch and fibres, and will be operated with Endeco, a partner of Bühler.

That a new facility dedicated to promoting innovation in the production of plant-based products comes as no surprise, as the plant-based foods market is growing rapidly.

Many consumers are eating more plant-based food because of concerns about the carbon footprint of animal products, while animal welfare concerns are another key driver in the growth in consumption of plant-based foods.

According to figures published by Statista, the plant-based food sector is likely to be worth about $52.5 million this year.

By 2030, the amount is set to have more than tripled, Statista figures indicate, with its value forecast to reach $161.9 billion.

Bühler opens new centre to promote innovation in the plant-based food sector

Image credit: Bühler

As well as the Protein Application Centre, Bühler is also opening the doors to customers three other Application and Training Centres or ATCs. These are the Flavour Creation Centre, the Food Creation Centre and the Energy Recovery Centre.

They complement, Bühler said in its statement, the company’s existing ATCs, which include the Extrusion Application Centre.

“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,” Johannes Wick, CEO of Grains and Food at Bühler Group, said in the statement.

“With the completion of the new Application and Training Centres, 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.”

With the opening of several new facilities, including the Protein Application Centre, alongside its existing Application and Training Centres, Bühler said that Uzwil had become a “one-stop shop” for it customers across the globe.

“The opening of the Application and Training Centres is a milestone in our journey to support our customers and partners, to create a more sustainable food system,” Ian Roberts, Bühler Group’s chief technology officer, said.

“At the ATCs, customers have access to a unique combination of technology and partners.”

Bühler opens new centre to promote innovation in the plant-based food sector

Image credit: Andrew Neel / Unsplash

In its statement, Bühler said that it had Application and Training Centres in 23 locations worldwide, with some facilities covering numerous industrial applications.

These centres, the company said, offer training for customers and provide them with “a collaborative platform to test new product ideas and experiment with product innovations”.

“Over the last years, Bühler’s global network of [ATCs] has expanded, 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,” the company said.

In partnership with the Institute of Food Technology, the FoodTech Hub Latam, Cargill and Givaudan, in October the firm opened the Tropical Food Innovation Lab in Brazil.

Bühler claims that this “innovation ecosystem” will develop sustainable food and beverages and, at the same time, promote biodiversity in Brazil.

According to Bühler, which is present in more than 140 countries and has 30 manufacturing sites, two billion people eat foods made with the company’s processes, including flour, rice, chocolate, coffee and pasta, on a daily basis.

Its activities extend well beyond the food industry, with half of new cars said to contain die-cast components made using the company’s technology.

Main image credit: Walter Otto / Unsplash

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