I recently visited ADM’s Customer Creation and Innovation Center (CCIC) in Manchester, designed to foster collaborations with food manufacturers, brands, and food service to create food and beverage products.
In a wide-ranging presentation we heard from Alistair Cross, managing director and UK country manager, ADM; Melissa Snover, CEO, Nourished, covering personalised nutrition; Chris Poole, managing director; Mark Millward, principal flavourist, ADM and Wafik Fahim, senior flavourist, savoury, ADM; and had a culinary tasting session lead by Nathan Schomers, executive chef, ADM.
The visit highlighted key characteristics that make innovation centres successful – a strong talent pool, access to funding and a culture of creativity. The 800-square-metre facility includes a state-of-the-art kitchen, a chef’s presentation theatre, and flavour development lab, where ADM’s team will explore and expand its culinary capabilities and solutions into developing food innovations for the UK. The CCIC has the advantage of accessing ADM’s support ecosystem, which will support businesses and provide access to market expertise. At CCIC, ADM will offer its expertise (technology, ingredients, and solutions) for formulating and developing plant-based offerings that meet consumers’ high sensory expectations and health demands.
A key catalyst to the growth of CCIC will be its eagerness to solve many of the key challenges facing the food and beverage industry. Its cutting-edge research will provide a pipeline for the sector, which in turn helps businesses from start-ups to more established. The challenges can be many and varied – from a brief description of what’s required to enquiries to meet a customer’s well-defined specification working from the basis of supplying a real need, not a perceived one. The idea is to work together to create something which will be practical, cost-effective and reliable. The moral of this particular story is that ADM encourages collaborative working, speaking with customers to define what they need, and then speaking with colleagues – each of them expert in their own field – to come up with a solution.
The food and beverage industry has many thriving innovation hubs, with myriad routes for budding entrepreneurs, experts and food professionals to traverse. Whether you’re looking to found or grow your food or drink business, immerse yourself in a thriving and innovative community, meet talented individuals in your sector, or seek technical and financial support through less traditional routes, the innovation hubs are the place to be.
It’s so much easier now than it was 25 years ago. In the days of Industry 4.0 we now have accessible communication and planning tools to keep us in touch with each other; cloud-based tools to share and keep up-to-date data; a myriad of models, systems and tools to guide us through the process; the list goes on. The investment illustrates ADM’s commitment to supercharging food tech and innovation.
- Rodney Jack, editor, Food & Drink Technology.
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