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Kerry Launches Science Research Hub to Find Sustainable Solutions to Food Waste

Leading taste and nutrition solutions company Kerry recently opened an innovation hub for food protection and preservation in Wageningen University’s Food Valley — home to cutting-edge food science research — in the Netherlands.

“Our focused new lab and offices will provide accelerated innovation”  

At the innovation center, Kerry aims to unite academia and industry to find sustainable solutions to food waste by researching the microbiological aspects of food loss, waste prevention, and food protection.

The new lab and offices will provide faster innovation and validation studies to customers in the region while operating in parallel with other preservation facilities worldwide. 

Image courtesy of Kerry

Food waste

Food production and waste contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s findings, an estimated one-third of food created for human consumption is lost or discarded, equaling a whopping US$1 trillion.

With R&D on common preservation ingredients such as salt, lemon, vinegar, plant extracts, enzymes, and traditional acid-based preservatives, Kerry aims to develop clean-label food preservation ingredients to reduce food waste and add value to products’ shelf-life. 

Kerry, which has a vegan cheese brand called Pure and recently launched SucculencePB, a solution for tastier plant-based meats, commissioned a study in 2022 to understand the European plant-based consumer (Ian Carroll, strategy director at Kerry, told vegconomist). The study revealed that taste, price, and clean-label ingredients (no additives or preservatives) in plant-based foods are key factors for purchase.

Bert De Vegt, global vice president for food preservation & protection at Kerry, says that formulating desirable foods for consumers with additional shelf life extension will solve part of the food waste at the supply chain stages.

smoothie Kerry Group
© Kerry Group

Clean-label ingredients

Developing clean-label and traditional preservation can be lengthy due to the extensive validation for food safety. But the hub will expedite the process by identifying and isolating strains that may interfere with the product’s quality or shelf life. Additionally, it will aid in efficiently screening the company‘s broad and wellregarded ingredients selection, De Vegt told Ingredients First

“Our focused new lab and offices will provide accelerated innovation and validation studies to customers in the region while operating in parallel with our preservation facilities in Tiel, the Netherlands, and our global technology innovation centres around the world,” announced Kerry on LinkedIn. 

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