Corbion commits to innovation with new Dutch R&D lab

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Located in Gorinchem, in the Netherlands, the laboratory houses 150 staff with the technical expertise to develop new bio-based products (© Corbion)
Located in Gorinchem, in the Netherlands, the laboratory houses 150 staff with the technical expertise to develop new bio-based products (© Corbion)
Food ingredients firm, Corbion has opened an R&D and applications laboratory, which the firm said would drive the business to new levels of innovation.

Located in Gorinchem, in the Netherlands, the laboratory houses 150 staff with the technical expertise to develop new bio-based products.

The expansion of its R&D facilities means Corbion are able to offer customers more collaborative NPD services, with development conditions more closely mimicking specific manufacturing environments.

Food ingredient innovations

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The laboratory has already played a role in developing several food ingredients, including Verdad Avanta, a range of multifunctional ingredient solutions for meat and poultry.(© Corbion)

The 3500 square metre facility includes manufacturing equipment, microbiology instrumentation, taste testing and sensory facilities that have relevance to the sectors Corbion are active in including meat, confectionery and food and beverage.

In addition, the facility includes a fully equipped kitchen to mimic product preparation and use in the home.

The lab is an example of the investment we are making into innovation. In particular, on the food side, we have more than doubled our space while keeping the same amount of people,”​ said Anieke Wierenga, senior innovation director of Food at Corbion Purac.

“It allows us to apply our products to our customer’s products to not only test the microbiological efficacy, but to customise our solutions to create specific blends or pH buffers for specific customer applications.”

A satisfying sour taste

The laboratory has already played a role in developing several food ingredients, including Verdad Avanta, a range of multifunctional ingredient solutions for meat and poultry, and Ultra Fresh Premium Advantage, an enzyme blend that maximises freshness and shelf life in bakery products.

In September last year, Corbion announced it had successfully patented a proprietary acid powder coating technology, using partially-neutralised acid instead of fat coatings.

This technology forms the basis of Corbion’s PURAC Power MA product, another product of the new Gorinchem laboratory.

The technology, which is said to improve confectionery shelf-life and give a more sour flavour, has been granted a patent in Europe, and is currently pursuing patent applications in the US and Brazil.

The technique uses partially-neutralised acid to coat acid powder particles. This eliminates issues associated with fat coatings, such as rancidity, while still preventing the powder from attracting moisture or being absorbed by the candy.

Food business growth

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The new laboratory's facilities have contributed to Corbion’s PURAC Power MA product.(© Corbion)

In Corbion’s full year results posted this month, a 3.7% organic growth in its food business was recorded, driven by increasing volumes and a positive price/mix effect.

Corbion said bakery sales, which made up 52% of 2015 food division sales, increased as a “small recovery in volumes”​ was aided by price increases following increases in raw material costs such as egg powder and folic acid.

Sales decreased in Corbion’s beverages, confectionery and dairy businesses, which made up a quarter of food division sales. The sales performance was attributed to difficult market conditions and the impact of an accident at its production facility in Grandview, Missouri.

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