FRANCE- Cargill, a global food and agricultural company, has opened its first European Protein Innovation Hub in Saint-Cyr-en-Val, France.

The facility is designed to address customer demands for inspiration, innovation, and accelerated product development in the protein sector.

The newly established Protein Innovation Hub comprises a customer experience area, a test kitchen, and a pilot plant for testing and experimenting with novel products and concepts.

The hub aims to facilitate the co-creation of protein-rich menu strategies with customers.

“Cargill’s Protein Innovation Hub is the perfect home for unsurpassed protein experiences where inspiration, co-creation, and innovation meet to transform ideas into an exciting reality,” Karel Zimmermann, Managing Director of Cargill Protein Europe, stated.

“Our customers can explore the entire world of protein under one roof from consumer and marketing insights to sensory profiling and product concepts. It is our first Protein Innovation Hub in Europe and part of our continued investment in Protein as an essential component of the food chain.”

The concept of the Protein Innovation Hub aimed to emphasize customer involvement in co-creating products and samples, allowing them to create or recreate final product samples developed by Cargill chefs.

Cargill affirmed to rapidly prototype new products in small batches, resulting in greater efficiency and speed to market on a dedicated small-scale pilot line, while conducting further analytical and sensory testing.

The final products are then showcased at the customer experience centre, featuring a restaurant space, chef demonstrations, workshops, and training sessions to enhance co-development and customer experience.

This new facility is part of Cargill’s €50 million investment in the Saint-Cyr-en-Val site, intending to renovate nearly 70% of the production facilities by 2025.

This investment aims to boost the output capacity by 10% while prioritizing sustainability through energy-saving initiatives such as modern refrigeration units and heat pumps for hot water, significantly reducing the site’s environmental impact and CO2 emissions.

Jonathan Laroye, Director of Cargill’s Saint-Cyr-en-Val plant, expressed pride in the local community’s role, with the plant serving over 2,000 restaurants across France and 10 European countries.

He noted that the investment would upgrade the facilities with new-generation technology and contribute to sustainable development in the food industry, while also benefiting the local economy.

“We are proud to have been an active part of the local community for 30 years, during which time our site has serviced over 2,000 restaurants across France and 10 countries across Europe,” he said.

“This major investment will see our facilities upgraded to new-generation technology and contribute to sustainable development in the food industry, all while injecting a much-needed investment into the local economy.”