Uzwil, Switzerland-headquartered Bühler opened its new Food Application Center (FAC) on June 19 in Plymouth, Minnesota as the culmination of the week-long Bühler GO! 2020 virtual networking and engagement event for food processors. The cutting edge facility will enable the producer of optical sorting systems and other equipment to support and drive innovation among its customers, start-ups, academia, and industry partners to create economically viable and sustainable food value chains.
“The FAC is a place for learning how to create and process new products, new protein sources, and new ways to strengthen our food supply chains,” said Andy Sharpe, chief executive officer of Bühler North America.
Drawing on over 160 years of food processing expertise, the Center was created to develop new methods of transforming peas, pulses, beans, oats, ancient grains, maize and other crops into a wide range of products, including plant-based meat analogues. Featuring the latest processing and handling systems, the FAC is capable of taking raw materials through to the finished product stage, ready for packaging.
“The Center is a playground for the food industry, built to foster collaboration between food processing companies and other industry organizations, who, working side by side with our processing experts, can test their business ideas, perfect them, and successfully bring them to market,” said Yannick Gaechter, Bühler’s food application center director. “With the goal of building a highly interconnected innovation ecosystem, the FAC will become an important resource for the North American food industry as it focuses on the future of food and learns to build a more resilient, agile and sustainable food supply chain.”
Learning and education is at the core of the Center. Bühler views the new facility as a place for instructing and understanding technology, food processing, food safety, digitalization, and many other topics. The investment in the FAC further reinforces the company’s commitment to new and innovative approaches to education and workforce development, most notably, the company’s internationally recognized apprenticeship program, which will use the Center as an educational base. Additionally, the FAC will act as a training ground for food processing companies wanting to educate their operations and maintenance staff on efficient processing and best practices.
“The facility stands ready to welcome innovative food processors and other interested organizations, to collaborate, create, and perfect new and sustainable food products as we all address the quickly changing demands of consumers’ diets,” said Gaechter.
Bühler GO!2020 presentations, panel discussions, and keynote speeches can be accessed via this link.