CHICAGO — ADM has entered a joint venture agreement with Marel, a provider of advanced food processing solutions, to build an innovation center in the Netherlands for collaborating with customers on creating new alternative protein products.

The innovation center will be built in the heart of the Netherlands food valley at the Wageningen Campus. Subject to regulatory approvals, the center is expected to open in the second half of 2024.

The innovation center is designed for food manufacturers to work alongside food scientists, extrusion experts and culinary professionals to prototype, manufacture and market new alternative protein products, as well as leverage pilot plant production with novel processing techniques.

“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,” said Allyson Fish, president of global alternative proteins for ADM. “Over the last year, we’ve expanded our European-sourced non-GM soy in Serbia, announced significant expansion of alternative protein production in the US, and entered into a strategic partnership with Benson Hill to scale and commercialize an innovative ultra-high protein soy protein. Partnering with Marel is another important step as we advance protein innovation for the EMEA region and beyond.”

Through the center, ADM and Marel will offer a wide range of opportunities, including trainings and workshops for next-generation solutions that support the increasing consumer demand for a variety of protein offerings that maintain ideal sensory experiences.

Until the opening of the new taste and texture innovation center in 2024, ADM will occupy a temporary laboratory in the Plus Ultra II building, within the grounds of the Wageningen Campus to support customer development projects.

“This taste and texture-focused innovation center will further strengthen our customer-centric approach in new, emerging market segments,” said Jesper Hjortshoj, vice president of business development at Marel and president of Wenger, a subsidiary of Marel. “Our longstanding relationship with ADM is the foundation of this partnership, and with our downstream processing capabilities, the center will use equipment from Marel and Wenger, enabling unique innovation and creation from raw ingredients, through the extrusion process, right up to finished products.”

The strategic partnership between the two companies follows Marel’s acquisition of Wenger Manufacturing in June 2022. The acquisition was valued at $540 million and marked Marel’s entrance into the pet nutrition category, establishing pet food as its fourth business segment alongside poultry, meat and fish. The new business segment will explore growth opportunities in three key, high-growth markets: pet food, plant-based proteins and aquaculture feed.

The new protein innovation center established by ADM and Marel will feature extrusion and drying systems from Wenger and complimentary equipment by Marel to provide food processors with development and testing capabilities for new product concepts.

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