This week saw the official opening of the $50m facility in Orbe, Switzerland by manufacturers Nestlé Cereals and General Mills, as part of their joint venture, Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW).
Hilary Green, head of R&D communications for the Neslté group, told BakeryandSnacks.com that work at the facility has already been underway for a number of months and that the site, which includes a sensory lab as well as a cereal packaging focused R&D division, will have an input into new global CPW product launches in 2011.
Improving its line of breakfast cereals and bars through added functionality and better health benefits while not compromising taste and texture is the ultimate aim, said Green.
And she said that liaison with universities and other institutions is a fundamental part of the new centre’s programme as “we can not invent everything on our own.”
“Clinical trials undertaken with leading scientists beyond Nestlé or General Mills will be key to our research and will underline the independence of our results,” stressed Green.
She dismissed the idea that the current EU legislative environment is a hindrance to companies investing in functional food research and development projects. “Quite, the contrary, Nestlé welcomes the health claim regulation as it enables a level playing field and encourages industry to conduct rigorous clinical trials.”
The multidisciplinary Orbe facility, she continued, has 80 employees and forms a critical part of what is now a Nestlé innovation hub in that region of Switzerland, in that it is located close to the company’s long established research centre in Lausanne.
Kellogg's funds prebiotic research
Last month, another breakfast cereal manufacturer, Kellogg’s, announced that it is funding research at a Belgian university into how cereal-derived prebiotics benefit human health will enable the development of fibre-rich cereal foods with greater nutritional value.
The company said that in order to support education and research in the field of cereal fibres and their metabolites in human nutrition, it has endowed the W.K. Kellogg Chair in Cereal Science and Nutrition at Catholic University of Leuven.
The aim of the Chair’s research is to examine the relationship between the consumption of dietary fibre components or enzyme-resistant starch and the production of acetic acid, propanoic acid and butyric acid by intestinal micro organisms.
Margaret Bath, VP for research, quality and technology at the global company said: “We chose K.U. Leuven because it conducts the best research into cereals and fibres.”