Unilever has invested €85 million in a new food innovation centre in the Netherlands, as the consumer goods giant looks to address "major global food system challenges".
Located on the campus of Wageningen University, an agri-food research hub, the centre opened on 6 December and has been named Hive for its location amidst academic research facilities, startups and external partners.
From Hive, Unilever will lead its global food innovation programmes for brands like Knorr, Hellmann’s, The Vegetarian Butcher and Calvė.
Areas of research will include plant-based ingredients and meat alternatives, efficient crops, sustainable food packaging and nutritious foods.
“We need a fundamental transformation of the food system if we are to feed more than 9 billion people sustainably and nutritiously,” said Alan Jope, Unilever CEO.
“Malnutrition, obesity, climate change and food waste are issues that can only be addressed if we work in partnership to accelerate technology and innovation. Having a global research and development centre in Wageningen will enable us to do exactly this.”
The Wageningen area in the Netherlands has been nicknamed Food Valley – a nod to Silicon Valley – in recognition of the breakthroughs in agri-food tech being generated by startups, science institutes, NGOs and companies located in the area.