NIZO was established in 1948 by the Dutch dairy industry, but has morphed over the decades from a dairy research institute into an R&D company for the whole food industry. The shares were owned by the Stichting (foundation), itself owned by the dairy industry.
Industry has not had any influence over operations for a long time – NIZO has an independent board of commissioners that supervises management and checks overall performance, but management does not report to the board on individual client projects in order to protect confidentiality. Severing the company from its roots and making the dairy industry a customer like any other will help assure new customers of the emphasis on independence and confidentially.
Importantly, since the existing management team (headed up by CEO and general manager Ad Juriaanse) will hold all the shares, there will not be a change of policy within the company. The aim is to continue growing turnover by expanding its customer base – both within The Netherlands and internationally.
The headquarters of NIZO are in Food Valley, a hub of activity in the food sector, but it also has offices in the UK, France, Japan and the USA.
Core areas of research include new product benefits – like flavour, texure and health – and low cost formulation and processing. It also works on food safety and quality and sustainability projects, and to support health claims.
In 2008 it opened a new application centre with industrial kitchen facilities, which is used for product oriented research or to develop new food concepts with scientists or chefs.