At this state-of-the-art center, Bühler aims to support and drive innovation among its customers, start-ups, academia, and industry partners to create economically viable and sustainable food value chains in North America.
The solutions developed there will help feed a growing population of nearly 10 billion people in 2050. “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,” says Andy Sharpe, CEO Bühler North America.
Drawing on over 160 years of food processing expertise, the FAC was created to develop new methods of transforming pulses, peas, beans, oats, ancient grains, maize and many other crops into new food solutions such as flours, snacks, pasta, cereals and a myriad of extruded products, including plant-based meat analogues. As a new product and process development venue, the FAC features the latest in raw material processing and handling systems, capable of taking those raw materials through to finished product, ready for packaging, bringing a product from farm to fork, or from bean to burger.
“The FAC 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 Bühler’s processing experts, can test their business ideas, perfect them, and successfully bring them to market,” says Yannick Gaechter, Bühler’s Food Application Center Director. With the goal of building a highly interconnected innovation ecosystem, Bühler expects that 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 FAC. 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 Bühler’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 FAC 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 new FAC 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,” says Gaechter.