Marel announces partnership with ADM to open a state-of-the-art taste and texture innovation center. The anticipated opening is scheduled to occur in the second half of 2024.
The new facility, located in the heart of the Wageningen Campus in the Netherlands, will offer a unique space, including a pilot plant and laboratory, to further boost plant-based innovation, from concept to commercialization. As one of the most reputable life sciences university’s worldwide and located at the heart of the Dutch food technology valley, Wageningen Campus provides the ideal location to foster future-forward food innovation.
Jesper Hjortshoj, President of Wenger and VP Business Development, Marel; Mel Tunderman, VP Savory, ADM
With collaboration intended to be at the core of the customer center, the joint venture partnership will invite food manufacturers to work alongside food scientists and extrusion and prepared foods experts to prototype, manufacture and market new plant-based and alternative protein products, as well as leverage pilot plant production with novel processing techniques.
“The taste and texture innovation center will further strengthen our customer centricity in new, emerging market segments,” said Jesper Hjortshoj, President of Wenger (a subsidiary of Marel) and VP Business Development at Marel. “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.”
With applications ranging from meat alternatives and extensions, specialized nutrition, ready meals and snacks, the center will offer a wide range of opportunities, including trainings and workshops, to deliver next generation solutions. Innovation and sustainability will be at the forefront throughout the collaborative conceptualization and commercialization processes, helping drive consumer adoption of new protein sources through exemplary sensory experiences and meet tomorrow’s nutritional challenges, today.
“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. “Partnering with Marel is another important step as we advance protein innovation for the EMEA region and beyond. We’re committed to meeting customer needs and powering continued profitable growth as we live our purpose by supporting a secure and sustainable global food system,” continued Fish.#
“The taste and texture innovation center will further strengthen our customer centricity in new, emerging market segments” – Jesper Hjortshoj President of Wenger (a subsidiary of Marel) and VP Business Development at Marel
Increased investment in alternative protein capabilities
This strategic partnership and intended taste and texture innovation center follows Marel’s increased investment in alternative protein capabilities. In 2022, Marel successfully acquired Wenger, the global leader in extrusion cooking solutions for plant-based protein food, pet food and aquatic feed. This platform investment provided Marel the opportunity to expand into new markets, where Wenger’s industry-leading technologies and process expertise have created a strong business foundation for nearly 90 years. The addition of Wenger created a new segment in Marel’s business mode entitled Plant, Pet, and Feed.
To support the rapidly growing plant-based food market, Marel and Wenger together offer complementary technologies and product portfolios that strengthen the value proposition with line solutions for processors of plant-based protein. Wenger’s industry-leading extrusion and dryer technologies are a strong anchor point in the value chain that creates proper texture, moisture content, and mouth feel that closely resembles whole muscle structure from plant proteins. Marel’s expansive product portfolio, such as weighing, sorting, inspection, low-pressure forming, and thermal treatment, can be added upstream and downstream of the Wenger extruder to establish a complete end-to-end processing solution, ensuring that tasty, high-nutrition products are processed in a safe and sustainable way.
At the new taste and texture center, Wenger extrusion and drying systems will form the core of the research and development chain, with complimentary Marel equipment employed to allow food manufacturers to develop and test new and enhanced food ideas through the complete process of raw ingredients to final product.