GERMANY – GEA Group, a German-based Food corporation, has unveiled US$54.4 million investment plan for the modernization of its German centrifuge production facilities in Oelde (North Rhine-Westphalia) and Niederahr (Rhineland-Palatinate) by the end of 2024.
According to the company, centrifuges are used in more than 3,500 different processes in a wide range of industries.
GEA pointed out that the investment is a way of future-proofing its sites by producing in an even more climate-friendly, efficient, and modern way.
“The investment in sustainable production, digitalization, and automation will drive growth in the company’s key markets which include the food and beverage industry,” the company noted.
“Driven by technological progress and changing consumer demand, the rising popularity of alternative proteins in recent years is already impacting the culinary world.”
The company’s CEO, Stefan Klebert, explained that this will be a way to strengthen the competitiveness of both of these German sites.
He appreciated the company’s employees who work tirelessly and with a high level of engineering skill every day to ensure that the company fulfills its purpose of “Engineering for a better world.”
GEA said the alternative protein industry has made rapid progress in recent years and plant-based burgers are increasingly indistinguishable from their ground meat counterparts.
“Cultivated meat has moved from the lab to pilot production facilities and onto a handful of restaurant menus. At GEA, we call this growing array of alternative proteins new food,” the company reports.
The cultivated meat technology uses microorganisms that convert biomass into larger volumes of protein for meat and dairy alternatives and other key ingredients.
Based on the company’s survey, plant-based proteins are the most advanced of today’s alternative proteins in terms of scale, availability, and uptake, but still cost roughly twice as much as conventional animal proteins to produce.
Technologies are proving viable and marketable products, largely because more and more consumers are demanding foods that are healthier for the planet and themselves.
Across the alternative-protein spectrum, technological innovation and efficient industrial processes have been identified as the two main levers for boosting both the quality and quantity of desired end products.
Significantly, the survey also found that consumers still want to see further progress in the taste, health, and price of novel proteins.
In 2021, investment in cultivated meat companies was US$1.36 billion which was more than double all previous investments.
By the end of 2021, there were 107 companies worldwide involved in the production of cultivated meat, and many of them are just now transitioning, or have only recently transitioned, from laboratory to larger-scale pilot production.