Cargill’s Saint-Cyr en Val facility, which has been running for 30 years, is now experiencing a capital injection of €50m, which aims to increase its capacity by 10%.
Among the fruits of this investment will be its protein innovation hub, which aims to provide Cargill’s customers with the means to develop protein products.
The hub will include a kitchen in which to develop products, a pilot plant to create prototypes, and a customer experience centre to taste them.
The development process will start in the kitchen, where customers will either create or recreate products from ideas developed by Cargill’s chefs. Then, the pilot plant will be able to create small prototypes of brand new protein-rich products, which will also include analytical and sensory testing.
Finally, the products will be served up to customers in the customer experience centre, which includes a restaurant, chef demonstrations, workshops and trainings.
“Our pilot line and test kitchen have been designed to deliver with great flexibility,” Karel Zimmermann, Managing Director of Cargill Protein Europe, told FoodNavigator, “and we can develop products with proteins from different origins. Poultry is the core of our business and when coming to this, we can work in whole muscle/formed, coated/uncoated, fry/non fry, tempura/breaded.
“We can develop products in our pilot line 3-4 weeks from kitchen samples approval (giving us time to receive ingredients for the trials if they are adhoc). If not adhoc, we can go for 2-3 weeks.”
The investment in the plant, which according to Cargill produced six million chicken nuggets per day in 2022, also aims to renovate nearly 70% of the production facilities by 2025.
As well as the protein hub, the investment also aims to focus on sustainability. Energy saving programmes, such as a new refrigeration unit which will, according to Carigll, reduce electricity consumption by 11%, will be introduced.
Heat pumps, which produce hot water for cleaning, will reduce the plant’s gas consumption by 5% and water consumption by 20%, the multinational states.
When taken together, these measures will reduce the site’s environmental footprint by 220t of CO2 emissions each year.
“Cargill’s Protein Innovation Hub is the perfect home for unsurpassed protein experiences where inspiration, co-creation and innovation meet to transform ideas into an exciting reality,” said Zimmermann.
“Our customers can explore the entire world of protein under one roof - from consumer and marketing insights to sensory profiling and product concepts. It is our first Protein Innovation Hub in Europe and part of our continued investment in Protein as an essential component of the food chain.”
“We are proud to have been an active part of the local community for 30 years, during which time our site has serviced over 2,000 restaurants across France and 10 countries across Europe,” adds Jonathan Laroye, director of Cargill’s Saint-Cyr en Val plant.
“This major investment will see our facilities upgraded to new-generation technology and contribute to sustainable development in the food industry, all while injecting a much-needed investment into the local economy.”