Dutch dairy targets ingredients innovation with $22 million R&D center

Netherlands-based dairy Royal FrieslandCampina is to build a new $22 million (€16 million) ingredients research & development facility on the campus of Wageningen University.

Due for completion in the second half of 2012, the center will eventually employ about 350 people and will collaborate with the company's local research operations and marketing departments in Europe, Asia, Africa and America.

The new building will be constructed at the southern end of the Wageningen University campus, covering an area of around 160,000 sq. ft. The building will feature 36,000 sq. ft. of laboratory space, a 19,000 sq. ft. pilot plant, a test bakery and space for general and technical support, plus 54,000 sq. ft. of office space. It will also house the FrieslandCampina 'Experience Centre', where products can be tasted, smelled and touched.

Cees 't Hart, CEO of Royal FrieslandCampina, said: "Achieving breakthrough innovations in consumer products, ingredients and processes is vital to help consumers and customers further and to better valorize the milk of our members.

"Milk offers unparalleled opportunities. To genuinely innovate, we need an R&D centre where we can develop and share our knowledge, a building that inspires our people and which offers state-of-the-art facilities. That's why we've opted for a new and inspirational building in Wageningen, in the heart of 'Food Valley,' the international food knowledge centre. Wageningen will be our R&D hub."

Meanwhile, also in the Netherlands, it has emerged that France-based Danone is to build a new international baby and medical nutrition research facility at Utrecht Science Park. The new center, due to open in 2012, will consolidate currently separate R&D operations in the Netherlands, Germany and the UK.