Unilever, the European food giant announced the opening of a new Food Innovation Centre in Wageningen doted with €85m to address major food challenges. The choice of Wageningen (in the Netherlands) is also a reward for this city, known for its university specialised in food in nutrition and which is successfully building a “food valley” in Europe.
The centre, named “Hive”, will build innovation programs on climate and health issues around Unlever’s brands: old and well-established ones as Knorr and those more recently acquired as the Vegetarian Butcher (which as its name tells markets plant-based meat alternatives).
Why it matters?
Wageningen is becoming THE place in Europe where research about the future fo food is made in partnerships with corporates. More than research and product development, the link with a large university enables also to “think” about the future of food. For example, in the same place, you can find people working on the technology of clean meat and philosophers looking for its potential impact and acceptability by consumers. We can only hope to see more “food valleys” in Europe connecting innovation, technology, thinking and the corporates’ means.