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To establish a modern taste and texture innovation center, Marel, a global leader in advanced food processing solutions, announced a collaboration with ADM, a company focusing on human and animal nutrition. The center, scheduled to open in the second half of 2024, will be located at the Wageningen Campus, Netherlands, said Marel in a press release.

Being located at the core of the Dutch food technology valley, The Wageningen campus will prove beneficial for the establishment of this innovation center. The facility will consist of a pilot plant and laboratory to promote plant-based innovation, offering operations ranging from prototyping to complete commercialization.

Collaboration for innovative processing techniques

The partnership between Marel and ADM plans to bring together food manufacturers to work closely with food scientists, extrusion experts, and culinary professionals. The collaborative effort of such professionals will lead to prototype creation, manufacturing, and extensive marketing of alternative protein products by leveraging pilot plant production with innovative processing methods.

Jesper Hjortshoj, President of Wenger (a subsidiary of Marel) and VP of Business Development at Marel, explained the company’s vision to strengthen customer acquisition in an emerging market segment by relying on this state-of-the-art technology center. “The long-standing relationship between our companies is the foundation of this partnership and with our downstream processing capabilities, the center will offer unique capabilities from raw ingredients to the final products.”

For society’s benefit

The facility will not only offer a variety of solutions, including meat alternatives and extensions, specialized nutrition, ready meals, and snacks but also provide training and workshops to bolster innovation. The collaboration will focus on innovation and sustainability with the goal of customer persuasion to adopt these new protein sources. The adoption will attempt to curb the upcoming nutritional challenges in society while offering customers excellent sensory experiences. 

“The creation of this innovation center is another example of our continued investment in expanding our alternative protein innovation and investments in the talent and technologies that will help us meet the needs of our growing population,” said Allyson Fish, president of global plant and alternative proteins for ADM. Fish talked about the company’s profit-making goals in the EMEA region and equally focused on meeting customer needs by providing a sustainable and secure global food system.

Increased investment in alternate protein capabilities

With this collaboration with ADM, Marel continues to expand its investment in alternative protein solutions. Wenger, the global leader in extrusion cooking solutions for plant-based protein food, pet food, and aquatic feed with a 90-year-old history, was acquired by Marel in 2022.

The combined technological effort by Marel and Wenger has effectively introduced a wide range of plant-based protein products. Wenger’s innovative extrusion and dryer technologies play a key role in fabricating necessary moisture and texture content, thus replicating the muscle arrangement of plant proteins. Marel’s technological advancements in weighing, sorting, inspection, low-pressure forming, and thermal treatment combined with Wenger’s innovative extruder will create tasty and sustainable processed products. 

The new facility in Wageningen will feature both the innovative technologies offered by Marel and Wenger, assisting food manufacturers to produce new and enriched food products. 

With demand for alternative protein products on the rise, companies are finding it difficult to meet market needs. In an attempt to provide a continuous supply of alternative protein products, ADM and Marel have joined forces, establishing a new innovation center in The Netherlands.