AUSTRIA – Agrana, a Vienna-headquartered food company is investing around €3.4 million (US$3.75m) at two research and development sites in France and Austria this year.

The investment includes €2.6 million (US$2.87m) in France to open a new development centre for fruit preparation in Mitry-Mory and €800,000 for the expansion of the Austrian research centre ARIC in Tulln.

This will bring the annual research and development expenditures of the Agrana Group amount to around €20 million (US$22.07m).

The group said the investment will enable the company to differentiate itself from competitors by means of new product developments in its fruit, starch and sugar business segments.

Agrana maintains currently 17 development centres around the world which work on new formulations, special ingredients and raw materials as well as new application areas for existing products.

The company operates five of these New Product Development Centres in Europe; Gleisdorf (Austria), Ostroleka (Poland), Serpukhov (Russia), Vinnytsia (Ukraine) and in Mitry-Mory (France).

Agrana recently upgraded its development centre in France for €2.6 million, in a project that included the addition of 700 square-metre of laboratory space.

The company is also investing €800,000 in expansion of the Agrana Research & Innovation Centre (ARIC) in Tulln, which is the main research and development subsidiary within the Agrana Group.

On an area of around 4,000 square-metre at ARIC, 85 employees work on research projects related to fruit, starch and sugar.

The company is currently underataking expansion work at the site, with the aim being to create a further 300 m2 for research purposes by the end of the year.

The research centre currently occupies a 4,000 m2 and employes 85 people to work on research projects related to fruit, starch and sugar.

In its fruit segment, Agrana conducts research into the development of innovative natural stabilisers for fruit preparations as well as processes for sensitively handling fruit ingredients.

In addition to fruit preparations, Agrana also offers brown flavours such as caramel, coffee or vanilla as well as products with inclusions such as chocolate balls.