Fuji Oil officially opened its Global Innovation Center Europe on the WUR campus on 1 October. The Japanese company (6000 employees, active in 14 countries) produces plant-based fats and industrial chocolate – such as chocolate coatings and fillings – for the global food industry. It is a business-to-business food ingredient company, says Liz Kamei, head of the Innovation Center.
Fuji Oil also produces plant-based foods based on soya. The company decided to locate its European R&D in Wageningen to focus on plant-based and sustainable technologies in particular. ‘We will not build a big research centre here, but will work through open innovation,’ says Kamei. ‘We want to be part of the Food Valley ecosystem, get access to researchers, start-ups and research facilities, and identify collaboration partners.’
We are not building a large research centre but opting for open innovation
As an example, Fuji Oil wants to collaborate in projects relating to new mild processing technologies that are developed in Wageningen. ‘Europe, and Wageningen in particular, is leading the way in food processing. That’s why we are here.’ The company already collaborates with WUR and other partners in PlantPromise, a research consortium aimed at improving plant-based meat substitutes that are made by extrusion – a technique with which a pliable material is pushed through a cast. Because Fuji Oil focuses on open innovation and collaboration with partners, the Innovation Center in Plus Ultra II currently consists of a team of just four experts. Kamei expects that the centre will gradually grow to around 10 R&D experts over the coming years.
Op de campus bevinden zich zo’n 100 bedrijven. In Resource stellen we ze aan je voor. Dit keer Fuji Oil in Plus Ultra II.