Cargill opened one of the food industry's most advanced technology and innovation centers in Campinas, state of Sao Paulo (Brazil). The new complex was developed based on sustainable principles and houses technical teams from many fields of knowledge to develop innovative solutions, ingredients and applications in partnership with customers.
The result of a R$20 million investment (approximately US $12.6 million), the 20,000 square meter Innovation Center features multiple laboratories to serve customers in the beverage, baking, confectionery, convenience foods and dairy categories. It also includes a flavor and aroma laboratory, and an industrial lab to create and develop ingredients and applications for the paper, textile, corrugated and biopolymer market. In addition to application development, the new facility will enable activities including product sensorial analysis, prototype development, ingredient creation and evaluation, consumer testing, and food preparation and tasting in the culinary center.
"Cargill's Latin American business is growing rapidly and our customers—local, regional and global—are increasingly turning to Cargill to help them develop new products and improve the formulations of existing products," said Sergio Rial, senior vice president, Cargill. "This exciting new facility unites our diverse technical capabilities and ingredient portfolio under one roof and enables Cargill to efficiently partner with customers and the academic community to develop meaningful new consumer products."
Strategically situated only 100km from the city of Sao Paulo, Cargill's new Innovation Center is located in the Barao Geraldo District, in the city of Campinas (SP), a well-known research and development and high technology hub for various institutions, universities and companies. According to the Brazilian Association of Food Industries (ABIA), last year the food industry recorded sales of R$300 billion (approximately US $474 billion), up 7.2 percent from the prior year. Considering Brazil's strategic role in the Latin American food industry, the Innovation Center will serve as a regional product development hub, particularly for Argentina and Venezuela. It will also promote and facilitate the exchange of best practices across Latin America and globally among Cargill's more than 1,000 food and beverage scientists and researchers.
"By focusing research and development efforts in the region, Cargill further encourages connectivity with other locations where it does business around the world, creating an environment that favors process, ingredients and product improvements," adds Rial.
Initially, the Innovation Center has about 50 people working there every day, including employees, customers, partners and contractors.
Connecting food and environmental innovation
As a global agrifood leader, Cargill's goal is to nourish people. Human food and animal feeds depend on clean water, soil, air and light. As such, the construction of the Innovation Center followed strict sustainability concepts in order to preserve local vegetation and topography. This state-of-the-art building technology will help Cargill save 900,000 liters of water per year and reduce energy demand by about 22 percent, and potentially 40 percent on sunny days. Eco-friendly design features of the facility include:
- Preservation of the topography - Precast curved reinforced concrete panels perfectly match the land's relief, producing less residues because less soil had to be excavated.
- Reduced energy demand - The building's roof consists of panels with sound insulation and vast skylights that provide natural light to the facilities and reduce energy consumption. Additionally, reflexive building glass also enables natural light to enter the building and maintain a pleasant indoor temperature, reducing the need for permanent air-conditioning. Climate control uses a chilled water system that helps control cooling and save energy. Timers and light sensors automatically turn lights on/off, as needed. Solar panels heat water for the laboratory taps and for the showers.
- Water savings - Advanced water reuse and sewer treatment systems ensure that a minimum volume of liquid waste is produced. Sanitation equipment is designed for low water consumption and the taps have motion sensors. Additionally, all of the Innovation Center's liquid waste is treated.
- Certified wood - The parquet wood floors are of planted eucalyptus trees and the concrete under layer uses recycled PET bottles. Furniture is made of recyclable material and certified wood.
- Total recycling - All construction residues were forwarded to local recycling cooperatives and 100 percent of all material produced at the facilities is also sent for recycling every day. Lamps, batteries and oil also undergo proper disposal.
Cargill is an international producer and trader of food, agricultural, risk management, and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the company employs 131,000 people in 66 countries. Cargill helps its customers succeed through collaboration and innovation and is committed to using its global knowledge and experience to overcome economic, environmental and social challenges wherever the company does business. For more information, visit the company's website at www.cargill.com.
Cargill has been in Brazil since 1965; while its operations started out in agriculture, today the company is one of the largest food companies in the country. Based in Sao Paulo, SP, the company is present in 13 Brazilian states. Cargill has plants and branch offices in nearly 130 cities in the country and employs more than 7,000 people. For more information, visit the company's website at www.cargill.com.