INDIA – American global food corporation Cargill has opened the Cargill Innovation Center in India to enable food and beverage businesses develop innovative solutions that address food and beverage (F&B) market trends. 

Located in Gurugram, Haryana, the state-of-the-art Innovation Center is spread over almost 17,000 square feet. 

It includes a sensory lab and demonstration kitchen, with capabilities to serve dairy, beverage, bakery, and convenience food industries, as well as other specialized culinary applications. 

It will combine the strength of global know-how and local capabilities to help ensure faster delivery of solutions to customers and will use Augmented Reality (AR) to live-stream practical demonstrations remotely to customers. 

Cargill says it will partner with its F&B customers in India to identify consumer demands, translate global industry trends into local application and accelerate customer product innovation pipelines.  

To promote a healthy and nutritious diet in line with the progressive food standards in India, the Center will also help customers reformulate products that are lower in fat, salt and sugar, while maintaining taste and texture.  

Simon George, President – Cargill India, said, “Consumer choices are rapidly evolving towards healthy food, without compromising taste, and this calls for product innovation. 

Through this Innovation Center, we are making our customers the centerpiece in co-creating innovative solutions for discerning, health-conscious consumers in India.” 

Meanwhile, Cargill’s R&D chief Florian Schattenmann has noted that there is an explosion of innovation in the food industry supported by an influx of capital into innovative start-ups. 

Schattenmann said this pointing to the ‘well over’ 30,000 start-ups in food and ag tech – a level that was ‘unthinkable’ a few short years ago.  

Schattenmann reflected that food sector venture capital deal volume in 2013 stood at around US$2.3bn. Last year, that figure totaled $30bn.  

And in the first-half of 2021 deal value amounted to $24bn, suggesting further acceleration still.  

“The growth rate is enormous. There’s no other industry that does that right now.” This is resulting in a ‘period of disruption’ – which according to the Cargill’s innovation lead could also ‘a period of opportunity’ for the US’s largest privately-owned company.  

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