The facility, which includes a high-tech web-conferencing center to enable DuPont’s scientists across the globe to get in touch with partners and other stakeholders from NGOs and academics - is the firm’s first to focus on food and agriculture.
Feeding a growing population, reducing dependence on fossil fuels
DuPont has significantly expanded its food ingredients capabilities in recent years via the acquisition of soy expert Solae (fully acquired in 2012); and enzymes, probiotics and sweeteners giant Danisco (acquired in 2011).
And the new center - the company’s second in the US and 12th globally - will open up new collaboration opportunities, said CEO Ellen Kullman at the official opening ceremony this week.
“DuPont has a history of innovation and scientific discovery. Today, we are creating solutions to address the world’s big challenges of feeding and protecting a growing global population and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.”
The 3,500sq ft showroom and adjoining collaboration room showcases the company’s latest technology, applications and products, DuPont Nutrition & Health president Craig F. Binetti told FoodNavigator-USA.
“Visitors can come in and see displays of our products and capabilities using touch screens to learn about everything from crop protection to how our ingredients work in dairy and meat applications.
"But it's also a place where we can collaborate with people all over the world, so we could have people in Johnston connecting with teams in any of our 22 food application centers globally, and we can then hook up with a customer location as well."
Asked about the opportunities in the US market, Binetti said DuPont is still seeing strong demand from customers in the health & wellness arena, spanning everything from sports nutrition and weight management to digestive and immune health.
Meanwhile, a growing interest in plant-based diets and more affordable, sustainable protein sources is driving continued demand for soy-based meat alternatives, he added.
Second generation biofuels from corn stalks and leaves
Separately, the company has announced plans to expand its Beaver Creek DuPont Pioneer R&D facilities in Johnston, creating 100 new jobs.
It is also investing $200m+ in its Nevada, Iowa commercial cellulosic ethanol production facility, which will produce fuels from corn stalks and leaves, instead of corn (ie. a non-food feedstocks), and create more than 60 full time jobs.