NETHERLANDS- Chicago-based ADM has entered into a joint venture agreement with Marel, a leading provider of advanced food processing solutions, to build an innovation center to enhance the production of alternative proteins.
The innovation center will be at the heart of the Netherlands food valley at the Wageningen Campus and is set to open in the second half of 2024, subject to regulatory approvals.
Meanwhile, ADM will occupy a temporary laboratory in the Plus Ultra II building, within the grounds of the Wageningen Campus, to support customer development projects.
The planned innovation center will be a platform for food manufacturers to work with food scientists, extrusion experts, and culinary professionals to prototype, manufacture and market new alternative protein products.
“This center is another example of our continued investment in expanding alternative protein innovation that will help meet the needs of a growing global population,” says Allyson Fish, president of global alternative proteins for ADM.
In 2022, ADM dedicated a lot of efforts toward creating an environment for alternative protein production. For example, the company expanded its European-sourced non-GM soy in Serbia.
Additionally, the leading global human and animal nutrition company, ADM, announced a significant expansion of alternative protein production in the US.
ADM also entered into a strategic partnership with Benson Hill, to scale and commercialize a novel ultra-high protein soy protein.
“Partnering with Marel is another important step as we advance protein innovation for the EMEA region and beyond,” Allyson added.
The innovation center will allow ADM and Marel to offer training and workshops, and inspire next-generation solutions with incredible sensory experiences, ultimately supporting the increasing demand for protein alternatives.
“This taste and texture-focused innovation center will further strengthen our customer-centric approach in new, emerging market segments,” says Jesper Hjortshoj, vice president of business development at Marel.
“Our long-standing relationship with ADM is the foundation of this partnership, ” Hjortshoj added.
As far as strategic partnerships go, ADM recently partnered with Richland Community College to train process technicians for 23 weeks starting later this month.
The first cohort of 16 was chosen out of 125 applicants, and consecutively 68 interviewees.
“Students will spend three days a week at our ADM Decatur processing facilities and two days a week here at Richland learning how to (when they graduate) be a process operator in one of our facilities,” said Tara Tolly, director of operations for ADM’s Decatur campus.
Through this partnership, these students get new skills and job opportunities while ADM gets to expand its trained workforce.
“There’s a huge skilled labor gap in the United States,” said James Rhodes, director of technician training and development for ADM.
“People were coming in who didn’t have the skills people used to have, mechanical skills, electrical skills, so we’re partnering with Richland to bridge that gap so our future operators have a better foundation,” Rhodes explained.
Other such partnerships include setting up a research park at the University of Illinois in September last year; providing students with research opportunities in food science, nutrition, chemistry, and sensory science, among other areas.