Cargill is opening its first European Protein Innovation Hub in Saint-Cyr-en-Val, France, to meet customer demands for inspiration, innovation and faster product development.
The new facility, which will enable customers to co-create protein-rich menu strategies, features a customer experience area, a test kitchen and a pilot plant for testing new products and concepts.
Karel Zimmermann, managing director of Cargill Protein Europe, said: “Cargill’s Protein Innovation Hub is the perfect home for unsurpassed protein experiences where inspiration, co-creation and innovation meet to transform ideas into an exciting reality. Our customers can explore the entire world of protein under one roof – from consumer and marketing insights to sensory profiling and product concepts. It is our first Protein Innovation Hub in Europe and part of our continued investment in Protein as an essential component of the food chain.”
The idea-to-execution concept starts with customer involvement in product co-creation, allowing them to create or re-create samples of finalised products developed by Cargill chefs serving customers throughout Europe. Cargill then can rapidly prototype new products in small batches, “yielding greater efficiency and speed to market on a dedicated small-scale pilot line, while undertaking further analytical and sensory testing,” the company said.
The final products are showcased at the customer experience centre, featuring a restaurant space and hosts chef demonstrations, workshops and training sessions to improve co-development and customer experience.
The new facility forms part of Cargill’s €50 million investment in the Saint-Cyr en Val site. This investment aims to renovate nearly 70% of the production facilities by 2025. According to the company, Cargill has a significant stake in the French poultry value chain, and this expansion programme will boost the output capacity by 10%.
Cargill said that this investment prioritises sustainability, with energy-saving programmes such as the installation of a modern refrigeration unit (resulting in an 11% reduction in electricity consumption) and the use of heat pumps for hot water for cleaning (leading to a 5% reduction in gas consumption and a 20% reduction in water consumption). In total, these improvements will significantly decrease the site’s environmental impact, reducing CO2 emissions by 220 metric tons annually.
Jonathan Laroye, director of Cargill’s Saint-Cyr en Val plant, commented: “We are proud to have been an active part of the local community for 30 years, during which time our site has serviced over 2,000 restaurants across France and 10 countries across Europe. This major investment will see our facilities upgraded to new-generation technology and contribute to sustainable development in the food industry, all while injecting a much-needed investment into the local economy.”
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