UZWIL, SWITZERLAND – Bühler AG and DIL (Deutsches Institut für Lebensmitteltechnik e. V.) on Aug. 30 announced the inauguration of the Technology Center Proteins of the Future to further develop extruded meat substitutes.

The technology center in Quakenbrück, Germany, provides research, test, and production infrastructure for the development of healthy, sustainable, protein food products. The center is fully operational and ready to receive requests from customers.

“The opening of the Technology Center Proteins of the Future emphasizes the strong partnership we have forged with DIL in a very short time frame,” said Stefan Scheiber, chief executive officer of Bühler Group. “With our combined expertise we are making a vital contribution to closing the protein gap.”

Volker Heinz, director and chief executive officer of DIL. said the proteins of the future “must be sustainable.”

“Resource consumption in their production must be kept as low as possible through appropriate processing and products to meet the expectations of responsible consumers,” he said.

The companies said it was important to develop underused sources of protein and transform them into attractive, high-quality and affordable products that succeed in the food market. The growing consumer demand for healthy, great tasting and sustainable food products, particularly healthy alternatives to animal proteins, represents a great opportunity for the food producing industry, they said.

“The center, with its advanced technological setup and expert teams, assists our customers in the food industry as well as startups to fully realize the potential of new plant-based proteins and develop new healthy and environmentally friendly food products for a growing market,” said Johannes Wick, CEO of Bühler Group’s Grains and Food unit.

The new facility will support customers throughout the entire process from prototyping new products and upscaling of production processes to contract manufacturing for initial market phases and comprehensive consultancy services. Combined with the full protein value chain solutions from Bühler, ideas can be realized much faster in complete plant solutions tailored to customer needs.

At the heart of the center is Bühler’s advanced extrusion IFS-certified extrusion technology. The twin-screw extruder PolyTwin BCTG and the PolyCool cooling die deliver a production capacity of up to 1 tonne per hour. The entire production cycle follows HACCP and GMP principles and guidelines.

In addition, the production unit features the most modern downstream equipment. The flexible extrusion setup is suitable for a wide range of food applications such as dry texturization of proteins, wet texturization of proteins, encapsulation of active ingredients and cooking extrusion of snack products. The multi-purpose cutting device from Holac cuts wet texturized proteins into strips, cubes and chunks. A cryogenic Zip Roll from Air Liquide is installed for the rapid freezing of wet textures preserving product characteristics at the highest level. Special applications can be catered for on demand.

The comprehensive offering is complemented by extensive laboratory services such as chemical, microbiological, and physical analytics of raw materials and analytics of extruded products, including particle size distribution, texture analysis, thermal analysis, and microscopic analysis on different length scales. The center also offers consultancy services concerning the development and process design of extruded food products.

The center is situated at the DIL at the Food Science and Technology Campus Artland in Quakenbrück, host to more than 250 scientists and technologists and a growing number of spin-offs and startup businesses developing solutions that improve food safety and quality as well as technology enterprises.

The opening of the center is accompanied by the “Scale it up Innovation Challenge” jointly set up by Bühler, Cargill and Givaudan to foster new innovations and solutions to close the protein gap.