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Novonesis expands innovation hub to shape the future of foods and take the industry to the next level

One of the world’s biggest and most advanced facilities focused on food cultures for processed meat and prepared foods has launched in Germany. The state-of-the-art site enables customers to test different cultures to improve food safety, productivity, taste and more.

Granted, you could get lost wandering around the newly expanded, four-story Novonesis innovation hub. But you’re sure to find impactful new ways to add value to your business there.

Novonesis (the company formed through the combination of Chr. Hansen and Novozymes) encourages makers of fermented meat products, seafood, hotdogs and plant-based products to put the sprawling facility to the test. Literally.

And food producers around the world are doing so, with the site located only 30 minutes from Frankfurt International Airport.

“This is where we develop the future of food together,” said Johan Weimann, President of Region Europe, Novonesis.

“Our biosolutions can help you produce more with less and decrease food waste. Make your food safer. Provide options to further reduce nitrites and nitrates in cured meats. You can learn how to reduce plastic packaging and make it easier for consumers to recycle your products. We can even add texture and authenticity to plant-based meat alternatives. And of course, taste is always in focus here, no matter the product!” 

Together with 150 invited guests from 21 different countries from Europe, North and South America, Australia and Asia, Susanne Hyldelund, Danish ambassador in Germany, marked the grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and speech. Kaweh Mansoori, Deputy Prime Minister of Hessen, gave a greeting via video message.

New culture for plant-based dry sausages developed here

The launch of Vertera® Bactoferm® 01 at the end of May, 2024, exemplifies the site’s customer-driven approach to innovation.

Vertera® Bactoferm® 01 is a fermentation food culture for plant-based dry sausages such as plant-based salami that helps customers create authentic tastes that meet the desires of consumers. The new culture lessens the need for common acidifiers thereby making it easier to simplify the ingredients list and differentiate the product with culture and fermentation.

Former Noma chef and fermentation expert raises the bar

David Zilber, former director of the Fermentation Lab at the three Michelin-starred restaurant Noma, is the facility’s in-house chef. He helps customers test, taste and refine new recipes.

Zilber puts an innovative twist on the ancient art and science of fermentation. And he applies learnings from some of the world’s top kitchens to customers’ everyday products.

Experienced Novonesis scientists, application managers and other experts work at the innovation hub. They’re the brains behind the building’s brawn.

The updated facilities customers can leverage

The 1,200 m2 Novonesis innovation hub includes: a state-of-the-art laboratory for microbiological and physicochemical analysis; a modern pilot plant for all types of processed meats and prepared foods; four new maturing and cooking chambers; and a customer centre for innovation days and training courses.

The core of the investment is the biosafety class 2 area with a microbial laboratory and another, strictly separated meat processing pilot plant. It enables work with pathogenic bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica. Here, for example, Novonesis scientists can conduct both storage and process challenge tests.

Based on such test series, Novonesis researches and validates the effect of its food cultures on harmful bacteria that can cause serious food-borne infections.

“That means we can harness the power of good bacteria in a targeted way to make food more durable and safer,” said Weimann.

“Because we use the natural mechanisms of fermentation, we and our customers contribute toward a more sustainable, resilient and efficient food system.”  

Biosolutions are one part of the recipe for a sustainable future
Biosolutions such as food cultures are rooted in biology. These tiny but mighty agents of change can address many global challenges. The world will have to feed 2 billion more people by 2050. Yet the U.N. reports that one-third of the world’s food goes to waste.

Biosolutions can help reduce food waste and help food producers meet changing customer demands, a challenging economic climate and increased legislative requirements. For example, if Novonesis food cultures were added to all yoghurt in Europe, it would add at least seven days of extra shelf life resulting in a 30% annual reduction of yoghurt waste in Europe (Qbis 2016).

In addition to the Pohlheim site, Novonesis has nearly 40 R&D and application centers around the world.

 “Novonesis operates in Oceania from the head office in Bayswater Victoria, led by newly appointed country manager, Kylie Evans, Head of Food & Beverage Biosolutions and Country Manager – Oceania. This site in Victoria is one of the 40 global applications centre supporting new products and application development for the dairy, bakery and meat & prepared foods industry across the Oceania region. In addition to the applications laboratory, there sits a team of local sales, marketing, customer service and warehousing to support local customers,” said Weimann. 

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