DSM, the Dutch chemicals group, announced plans to build a new applications development laboratory for Food Specialties and Bakery Ingredients in Delft, the Netherlands, which is set to be completed in the third quarter of 2003, according to a report by Food Ingredients Online.

The project will involve an investment of approximately €12m, to accommodate over a hundred application specialists and product developers, most of whom are now working at different locations in Delft and Zaandam in the Netherlands. This concentration in a single new laboratory of all research and development activities focusing on food ingredients and end products, containing those ingredients, “will not only lead to an improvement in efficiency, but will above all boost DSM’s innovative power,” the report notes.

The laboratory will include facilities for producing a wide range of foodstuffs, from bread and baked goods to meat products, cheese, yogurt, soups, sauces, ready meals and functional foods on a small scale for the purpose of testing food ingredients, “ the report says.

Food Ingredients Online adds that consumers are becoming more and more demanding with respect to foodstuffs.  “They quite rightly want food that is healthy, tasty and of good quality.” Another criterion that is becoming increasingly important lately is convenience. Like any other products nowadays, foodstuffs producers, too, must constantly invest in innovation to retain their global market position. “For them it is particularly important to make efforts to improve aspects relating to the quality of their products such as flavour, texture, nutritional value and shelf life and the efficiency of their production processes.” In DSM’s new laboratory the facility will be able to test and improve the applications of the food ingredients using the most advanced techniques, according to Feike Sijbesma, a member of DSM’s Managing Board.

The new laboratory will serve as the ingredients development and application know-how centre of DSM, and will support DSM’s broad network of Food Applications Centres across the globe.

DSM Food Specialties produces high-quality ingredients in the food, beverage and feed industries, including enzymes, yeast extracts, natural colourants, polyunsaturated fatty acids and starter cultures. DSM Bakery Ingredients is a supplier of high-quality yeasts, bread improvers and enzymes to the bakery industry worldwide.

The Dutch chemicals group is a highly integrated international group of companies that is active worldwide in the field of life science products, performance materials, polymers and industrial materials. The group has annual sales amounting to €8.1 billion and employs about 22,000 people at more than 200 sites worldwide. “By 2005, DSM aims to rank among the world’s leading players in the field of specialties characterised by high-added value, strong growth and more stable profit levels, with group sales of €10 billion.” At least 80% of these sales should be generated by specialties in which DSM holds global leadership positions, the report concludes.

By Aaron Priel, just-food.com correspondent