Upfield Group plans to invest €50 million in a new plant-based research and development (R&D) facility, which will be located in Wageningen, the Netherlands.
Planning for the proposed €50 million Upfield Food Science Centre has been submitted to the Dutch Works Council, and the company hopes to open the R&D site by the end of 2021.
Upfield produces a range of plant-based spreads, cheeses and margarine products, and owns major plant-based brands including Flora, Violife and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.
According to a statement from the company, the Food Science Centre will aim to accelerate the development of plant-based food products and sustainable packaging solutions.
In addition, the company announced plans to open a new Global Headquarters by the end of 2021. The company is currently headquartered in Amsterdam, and Upfield stated that the new office will bring together associates based in Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
Upfield Group CEO David Haines said: “The announcement today demonstrates our commitment to ambitious and pioneering research and development. Our track record is good. Since Upfield was established under two years ago, we have already launched new and industry-leading plant-based cheese, cream, and butter products.
“The new Upfield Food Science Centre will allow us to accelerate our ambitious agenda and develop even more options so people can enjoy great-tasting, natural, plant-based foods that are not only beneficial to their health, but to the planet.
“As a global leader in plant-based nutrition, we are extremely excited by what this investment means for the future of the category.”
John Verbakel, chief research and development officer at Upfield added: “Investment in the new Upfield Food Science Centre will give us access to state-of-the art equipment, technology and an inspiring and creative network of individuals and companies, allowing us to really push the boundaries of what we can achieve in natural, plant-based foods innovation.
“It is exciting to be part of a company committed to such a large-scale investment, which recognizes the importance of food science and plant-based foods.”
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