Swiss technology group Bühler has unveiled its new food innovation hub in Uzwil, Switzerland, opening up four new Application & Training Centers (ATCs).
The company’s existing ATCs, such as its Extrusion Application Center, will complement the new facilities, which aim to connect the entire value chain and enable a circular economy approach to food production.
Brand-new ATCs opening their doors to customers are a Flavor Creation Center, Food Creation Center, Protein Application Center and Energy Recovery Center.
Bühler currently has ATCs in 23 locations around the world, some of which cover multiple industrial applications. The hubs offer dedicated training for customers and provides them with a collaborative platform to test new product ideas and experiment with product innovations.
The new Protein Appliation Center aims to enable and accelerate the development of processes for plant-based food production, including meat substitutes, plant-based drinks and ingredients.
It is equipped with the latest wet isolation and fractionation techniques for separation of protein, starches and fibres. The facility is operated in collaboration with technology partner Endeco, and will connect the Grain Innovation Center, Extrusion Application Center, Pasta Application Center, Food Creation Center, Flavor Creation Center, and Energy Recovery Center.
At the Flavor Creation Center, Bühler’s expertise in processing, roasting and grinding cocoa beans, nuts and coffee is combined in one place. The centre has been processing coffee since 2013 and cocoa and nuts since 2022, and has now been upgraded and renovated. It offers product innovation, training, process optimisation and raw material analyses. It operates in line with Bühler’s Chocolate Application Center, Food Creation Center, and Energy Recovery Center.
The new Food Creation Center will support customers through the entire innovation and industrialisation process, in the development of food products such as chocolate, snack bars, wafers, biscuits, crackers and baked goods.
Together, the ATCs in Uzwil produce around 550 tons of biomass annually. To make optimum use of the waste and by-products generated, Bühler and its strategic partner Vyncke have built the Energy Recovery Center, which serves as a heating facility for Bühler’s headquarters.
The Energy Recovery Center also works as a demonstration and testing platform for customers who want to reduce their carbon footprint, waste production and energy costs by using side streams.
Milling Solutions has also started construction on a new Grain Innovation Center (GIC) in Uzwil, where Bühler and its customers and partners will develop, test and scale sustainable and efficient solutions for grain and feed processing to improve food and feed solutions. It is set for operation by the end of 2024.
A new Grain Processing Innovation Center (GPIC) in Kano, Nigeria, is also under construction and expected to open at the beginning of 2024, focusing on development of products, recipes and processes using local grains such as sorghum, millets, maize, soybeans and tigernuts.
Johannes Wick, CEO of Grains & Food at Bühler Group, said: “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”.
He added: “With the completion of the new Application & Training Centers we are able to cover the entire scope of production, from different raw materials to multiple types of finished products.”
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