Dove soap and Hellman’s mayonnaise maker Unilever has invested €85m (£71m) in a Food Innovation Centre in the Netherlands.
Unilever has invested in the new centre, named ‘Hive’ for its location amidst leading academic research centres, start-ups and external partners.
From Hive, Unilever will lead its global Foods innovation programs 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.
Together with its partners, Unilever said it aims to transform the food industry into a healthy and sustainable system, driving innovations that are healthier for people and for the planet.
“We need a fundamental transformation of the food system if we are to feed more than 9 billion people sustainably and nutritiously”, Alan Jope, Unilever CEO, said.
“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 is often nicknamed “Food Valley” – a nod to Silicon Valley – in recognition of the breakthroughs in agri-food tech being generated by start-ups, science institutes, NGOs and companies located in the area.
Unilever claimed that Hive has the highest certification for sustainable buildings: ‘BREEAM-NL Outstanding’. Large parts of the fully circular interior are accessible to the public.
Earlier this year, the building won two prestigious design awards: the Global Design Award for Commercial Projects and the Global Public Award.