Unilever Intends to Build Global Foods Innovation Centre in Holland
“The Agri-Food innovation climate in the Netherlands is very strong”
London/Rotterdam, 6 October 2016 – Today Unilever has announced its intention to build a new global Foods Innovation Centre in Wageningen, the Netherlands. The Foods R&D organizations, currently based in Vlaardingen (the Netherlands), Heilbronn (Germany) and Poznan (Poland) will be co-located in the new center.
Today’s announcement means that Unilever will move all roles in R&D Foods that are currently based in Vlaardingen, Heilbronn and Poznan, to the new global Foods Innovation Centre in Wageningen. The new center, which will house approximately 550 roles, is expected to be fully operational by April 2019.
By co-locating R&D resources of our categories (Home Care, Personal Care, Foods & Refreshment) into our key R&D locations, Unilever will create critical mass in expertise areas to ensure that the technologies ultimately bring benefit-led, breakthrough innovations to the markets. In addition, we aim to evolve our R&D sites into innovation ecosystems to leverage the knowledge and expertise of external partners.
Cutting edge Foods innovations
Jan Zijderveld, President Unilever Europe: “The Agri-Food innovation climate in the Netherlands is very strong. The co-location of all elements of our Foods R&D organization within the Foods Innovation ecosystem in Wageningen will enable Unilever to strengthen its ability to develop cutting edge Foods innovations in close collaboration with the Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and a broad variety of other science institutes and startups”.
David Blanchard, Chief R&D Officer Unilever: “The Foods Innovation ecosystem in Wageningen will bring together a strong combination of in-house R&D and external science and technology, talent and facilities, increasing the impact of Unilever’s own resources and capabilities, and ultimately creating the innovative power that we need to remain front runners in Foods”.
Project to be finalized by second quarter 2019
The R&D Home Care, Personal Care and Refreshment organizations that are currently based in Vlaardingen will move to the Innovation ecosystems in Port Sunlight (Home & Personal Care) and to Colworth Science Park (Refreshment). These moves and the move of the Foods R&D organization from Vlaardingen to Wageningen lead to the fact that the Vlaardingen site will close.
Unilever will now start the consultation process. The building of the Foods Innovation Centre in Wageningen will only commence following the completion of this process. It expects the total project to be finalized by the second quarter of 2019.
Source: Unilever6 October 2016