Danone has opened an R&D site in the Netherlands that aims to look into developing products that help consumers when they are young, pregnant, sick and elderly.

The company's facility in Utrecht will focus on the areas of "early life nutrition" and "advanced medical nutrition".

Teams performing research into the earlier stages of life will study in areas from gut health to immunity and cognitive development. The advanced nutrition work will look how to enable consumers to "live longer, healthier lives" and investigate fields including paediatric care, metabolitics and the care of the elderly.

Jean-Philippe Paré, Danone's executive vice president for research and development, said: "This innovative new research centre offers a unique opportunity to build bridges between science and nutrition - to meet our consumer needs at critical points in their lives: early life, pregnancy, illness and ageing."

Danone decided on the new Nutricia Research centre in 2010 when it opted to group the baby food and medical nutrition functions it had in the Netherlands, Germany and the UK in the Dutch city.

The company's Nutricia business in China is under scrutiny amid claims local staff paid over 100 doctors in Beijing to boost sales.