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ADM opens food innovation centre in Manchester, FoodBev takes a tour
FoodBev Media

FoodBev Media

8 June 2023

ADM opens food innovation centre in Manchester, FoodBev takes a tour

Today, ADM has announced the opening of a new food innovation centre in the UK's northern city of Manchester. And FoodBev had the pleasure of taking a tour of the facility. The new centre serves as a hub for food innovation and strengthens ADM's presence in the UK. During a tour of the facility, FoodBev had the chance to explore its kitchens, chef's presentation theatre and flavour development laboratories, and even had the opportunity to create a new beverage flavour (which tasted a lot like a well-known energy drink famed for giving you wings). Wafik Fahim, senior flavourist for ADM's savoury division, then showed us how the company is developing taste and texture modulators for plant-based chicken nuggets. After some flavour experimentation, ADM took us on a culinary journey, offering a three-course meal that flexed its ingredient/flavour muscle. Each dish showcased ADM's food manufacturing solutions – for example, its EdgeFlex system, which was used to create a plant-based cod fillet and a plant-based lamb kebab, as well as its myriad flavouring, powder and syrup offerings.

With the new facility, ADM hopes to expand its culinary capabilities into new savoury innovations for the UK, honing in on the flavour trends and preferences of British consumers. In addition, ADM will continue developing solutions for the beverage, sweet goods and dairy sectors.

When asked "why Manchester?" Mark Millward, principal flavourist at ADM, told FoodBev: "We chose Manchester partly because the northwest has always been the food technology centre of the UK; a lot of the universities have very strong food technology and chemistry courses – the chemistry industry started out in the northwest, due to the salt mines in Chesire, which led on to more development in the food processing side of things as a result."

He continued: "Some of the biggest food companies are based here; we've got Kellogg's, Heinz, Nichols and Princes Soft Drinks. A lot of companies are based up here, and we've always had a pool of technologists to pull from. Now we have started looking into more plant-based savoury food solutions, we benefit from being able to pull those resources. This helps with the ease of getting to market."

While local, the Manchester facility has a global feel. Executive chef Nate Schomers is from the US and now works at ADM's culinary centre in Berlin, Germany. He told FoodBev that the drive for alternative proteins – a huge part of ADM's work in the UK and beyond – is different depending on the region or country the customer is based. "My team is based in Berlin, but we have people from 12 different countries. Our culinary team is global. We are always talking about what's happening or what is the next thing." He added: "When it comes to protein, it's always going to come back to how we accurately mimic some of the products that are already on the market, that people are used to eating – whether that's grass-fed beef flavouring or corn-fed beef, as the two are very different. When it comes to individualised markets, there are certain expectations. What a consumer considers a good-tasting burger in Iowa is different from what a consumer considers a good-tasting burger in India, where they don't generally eat beef." Millward commented: "We led with the UK because it's a key market, second only to Japan in the number of new products that are launched. I think that is largely because the UK is a multicultural society. It does not feel as restricted as other countries... it is the UK market that will accept new products and flavours readily." At the 800-square-meter centre, ADM cultivates collaboration with customers – from food manufacturers to foodservice – fostering innovative development in "on-trend savoury applications, as well as sweet goods, dairy and alternative dairy". “The opening of our new centre provides a unique synergistic space to further our commitment to push the boundaries of food and beverage formulation, while also delivering authentic culinary experiences,” said Chris Poole, managing director at ADM. “And with the UK market on track for steady growth in 2023 and beyond, ADM is perfectly positioned to service all our customers’ needs.” The food manufacturing giant has also been expanding its presence in other parts of the world. The company opened a probiotics facility earlier this year in Valencia, Spain, and

started a partnership with Marel to build a taste and texture innovation centre for the alt protein space in the Netherlands. At the end of last year, it also opened a new extrusion facility in Serbia, as it aims to extend its production of non-GMO textured soy proteins. And in March 2022, ADM opened its first facility in Latin America – a $4.7 million innovation centre in Hortolândia, Brazil. A huge thank you to the ADM team for inviting us to the new centre in Manchester, and for the multisensorial culinary experience!

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