Cargill has unveiled its plans to build a new $21 million chocolate complex in a move to facilitate better product development and enhance its customer collaboration experience.
The House of Chocolate complex – which will be located at its Mouscron, Belgium site – will include a chocolate experience centre, a pilot plant, a sensory lab and a creative workspace for the company’s European R&D team.
The new 700 square-metre complex, built alongside Cargill’s existing chocolate production plant, will enable customers to experience the convenience of an all-in-one development process at a single location.
Customers will gain inspiration and training from Cargill’s gourmet chocolate chefs to brainstorm product concepts which will then be tested through small-scale production trials. Meanwhile, the in-house sensory lab will ensure those products deliver on consumers’ expectations for taste, visual appearance, texture, before culminating in commercial-scale production.
“Innovation stands at the forefront of our House of Chocolate, as we bring together all our expertise and resources,” said Harold Poelma, president of Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate.
He added: “It will allow us to collaborate with customers at every step of their product development journey, transforming ideas into reality using a streamlined approach to facilitate innovation and deliver greater efficiency and speed to market.”
Last year, Cargill inaugurated a Culinary Experience Hub at its research and development site in Vilvoorde, Belgium which features a bakery pilot plant, a frying centre and a culinary tasting area.
Staffed by a team of more than 40 chocolate engineers, including sensory experts, technical service specialists and R&D scientists, the new facility will serve as the hub for all of Cargill’s chocolate, coating and filling activities and will reportedly create around 10 new jobs.
Inge Demeyere, managing director for Cargill Chocolate Europe, said: “It’s fitting we make this investment in Belgium, given the unique place it holds in the chocolate world. Our House of Chocolate builds on that rich tradition, offering customers a unique venue to discover all that’s possible with our state-of-the-art capabilities and our broad range of brands including Cargill, Veliche Gourmet and Smet.”
Construction of the complex has already begun and the pilot centre is scheduled to open in autumn 2021, while the chocolate experience centre and sensory lab will be operational in Jan 2022.
The investment follows a series of upgrades to Cargill’s Mouscron chocolate production facility, including new sugar-reduction capabilities and the installation of a new liquid chocolate production line.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020