The president of DSM Food Specialties, Ilona Haaijer, has told FoodBev that she’s ‘really excited’ to be able to offer laboratory and scale-up facilities alongside its new biotechnology centre in the Netherlands.
The company unveiled the Rosalind Franklin Biotechnology Center on its Delft campus earlier, where more than 400 scientists will advance the company’s research into food enzymes, cultures, bio-preservatives and taste ingredients for the global food industry.
Alongside significant investments in robotics and automation, the centre and the surrounding campus includes space for start-ups to explore and scale up their concepts in partnership with DSM Food Specialties.
At the opening: Alex Clere
There was a general buzz, a sense of excitement at the unveiling of DSM’s imposing glass biotechnology centre this morning. DSM’s scientists had already moved in, keen to give visitors an impression of the new equipment – some the result of millions of euros’ worth of investment – and collaborative spaces in action.
Ahead of the unveiling ceremony, DSM Food Specialties president Ilona Haaijer told me which of the company’s products she thought were particularly pertinent, given the state of the food industry at the moment.
Its MaxiLact product, which removes lactose from a product while delivering additional sugar reductions, was ‘flying’, she said. And the Preventase proprietary enzyme allows brands to limit the amount of acrylamide in bakery items amid widespread concern across Europe.
This new centre, a major achievement for DSM, will help the Food Specialties business continue to meet the industry’s biggest trends and satisfy changes to consumer preference.
The Rosalind Franklin Biotechnology Center is part of DSM’s network of more than 30 laboratories in ten countries. According to Gerhard Wagner, the director of DSM’s Biotechnology Center, the company has sought to align itself with local technology hubs like Boston, Massachusetts and put down roots close to its markets.
Haaijer also noted that the world was becoming an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) place, which made the prediction of future trends difficult.
The process was no longer as linear as it had once been, becoming ‘an art, not a science’.
But in that challenge was the opportunity for DSM to increase its participation with external stakeholders, like Delft University of Technology and Corbion.
The biotechnology centre in Delft has also been designed with the help of DSM’s scientists, and includes features and open spaces deliberately intended to encourage cooperation and collaboration between employees.
Haaijer claimed that it was ‘more and more important to open up’ with chief operating officer Cindy Gerhardt adding that this was the only way companies can be early to market with a product.
The Rosalind Franklin Biotechnology Center will play a crucial role in that strategy.
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