Home » Bühler elevates plant-based food and sustainability with new innovation hub

Bühler elevates plant-based food and sustainability with new innovation hub

(All Image credits: Bühler)

20 Nov 2023 — Technology group Bühler has launched an innovation hub in Uzwil, Switzerland. This new development integrates four specialized Application & Training Centers (ATCs) — the Flavor Creation Center, Food Creation Center, Protein Application Center and Energy Recovery Center — under one roof. 

These centers join existing facilities such as the Extrusion Application Center, which allows Bühler to foster its innovation in food production.

“With the completion of the new Application & Training Centers, we are able to cover the entire scope of production, from different raw materials to multiple types of finished products. We can offer our customers enormous flexibility and the options they need to disrupt their markets,” notes Johannes Wick, CEO of grains & food at Bühler Group. 

“Customers need flexibility and creativity to adapt their products addressing key issues such as sustainability, the use of local raw materials, healthy diets and affordability.”

Recent expansions include the Tropical Food Innovation Lab in Brazil, a collaborative effort with the Institute of Food Technology (Ital), Foodtech Hub Latam, Cargill, and Givaudan, focusing on sustainable food and beverage development that promotes biodiversity.

Driving innovation and food development
With plant-based foods emerging as nutritious and sustainable substitutes that offer companies profitable opportunities, the ATCs also endeavor to advance the development of processes for producing plant-based foods. This encompasses meat substitutes, plant-based drinks and ingredients, aligning with the growing demand for healthy dietary choices.

Equipped with wet isolation and fractionation techniques for the separation of protein, starches, and fibers, the protein application center is operated in collaboration with Bühler’s partner, Endeco.

The flavor creation center boasts expertise in processing cocoa, nuts, and coffee, offering flavor and product development.

Meanwhile, the food creation center will support customers throughout the innovation and industrialization process, integrating technology, analytical services, product and process development, workshops, and training.A person is checking the flavor ingredients.The flavor creation center, which has been processing coffee since 2013 and cocoa and nuts since 2022, has been upgraded and renovated.

Sustainable solutions for food loss
According to recent data from the UN, 13% of globally produced food is lost between harvest and retail, posing a threat to the sustainability of international food systems. The repercussions of this loss extend beyond the sheer wastage, as the disposal of food in landfills contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating climate change.

Recognizing this issue, the technologies, innovative solutions and retractable food processing systems have been encouraged in managing food quality and mitigating loss and waste. 

Ian Roberts, CTO of Bühler Group, emphasizes: “The opening of the ATCs is a milestone in our journey to support our customers and partners, to create a more sustainable food system. ”

To make optimum use of the waste and by-products generated by the ATCs, Bühler and its strategic partner, Vyncke, have established the Energy Recovery Center. This facility serves as a heating solution for Bühler’s headquarters and functions as a demonstration and testing platform for customers seeking to reduce their CO2 footprint, waste production, and energy costs through the utilization of by-products generated by the ATCs.

“The energy generation from biomass as an integrated part of process solutions for food has not been systematically developed and therefore has an enormously high potential, both from a business and sustainability perspective,” says Johannes Wick.

 “The Bühler-Vyncke Energy Recovery Center is an important step for us in implementing our sustainability goals and is intended to serve as an example for energy recovery options in food and feed production.”

By Sichong Wang

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