The centre encompasses a global research & development (R&D) laboratory and the company’s applications laboratory. It is located at one of the largest production sites for Rousselot, which is part of Vion.
Rousselot said the facility would strengthen its ambitions to drive innovation and growth in the worldwide gelatine and collagen peptides market. It has three main areas of expertise. They include the physical characterisation of gelatine such as rheology and hydrophobicity, biochemistry and techniques such as electrophoresis and analytical expertise to determine organoleptic characteristics.
“The centre’s remit covers complete characterisation of gelatine, specific customer requests, troubleshooting customer processes, devising new products, new functionalities and new applications,” a spokeswoman for Rousselot told FoodNavigator.
Stay ahead of market
“The objective is to stay ahead of market trends for less fat, less sugar, less calories and new textures. The development of new active ingredients for a healthier lifestyle stems from expertise centre insights and research into peptan bio-functionality and applications.”
She said the centre had already attracted the commercial engagement of several large customers, adding: “One of the main projects achieved by the labs is reformulation with gelatine and hydrolysed gelatine. The goal is to get healthier products.
“Hydrolysed gelatine for example can be used as a protein source or to help water retention or as a bulking agent to substitute fat and sugar. The application lab has developed for example low fat chocolate brownies, high protein soups or low fat dairy spreads.”
Nutrition and health at heart of research
“This facility will focus on new product development and innovation and will help us bring an enhanced quality of service to our customers,” said Fred Beekmans, director of R&D and quality for Vion Ingredients. “Our research teams continue to further improve our ingredients’ performance in applications while also placing the nutrition and health aspects at the heart of their research efforts.”
The inauguration ceremony was attended by Rousselot’s biggest customers, members of the local community, researchers and scientists from the University of Gent, other European research groups and Rousselot and Vion principal executives.
Rousselot is a major manufacturer of gelatine and collagen peptides to the food, pharmaceutical and technical industries. With a staff of 2,400 people, the company has a global production network of 13 plants and 10 sales offices located in Europe, North America, South America and Asia.
In May, the company announced price increases effective from July 1 across its overall gelatine portfolio of 2-5%, mainly affecting pig and bovine gelatine products to offset spiralling raw material costs.