On Friday 6 December King Willem Alexander opened 'Hive', Unilever’s new Foods Innovation Centre on the Wageningen Campus. This Food Innovations Centre replaces the locations where research had been done up to now in Vlaardingen, Poland and Germany. The Centre houses 550 people who are working on food innovations.
The opening was preceded by the symposium ‘Foods as a force for good'. Three different panel discussions addressed the changes that have to be collectively made in order to provide everyone with healthy and sustainable food, both now now and in the future. Speakers included Alan Jope (CEO Unilever), Diane Holdorf (Managing Director Food & Nature at WBCSD), Mette Lykke (CEO Too Good To Go) and Louise Fresco (chair of Wageningen University & Research).
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The transparency in the construction of the new building reflects the open innovation strategy intended to stimulate movement and meetings. The Hive’s sustainable character can be seen, for example in the building materials, many of which are recycled.
Food for the future
The Hive’s location on campus facilitates collaboration with Wageningen University & Research as well as other parties on campus. Unilever is expressly hoping to collaborate with the start-up community as well. The goal of these collaborative efforts is to translate clever ideas into food for the future. “We’re looking for vegetarian dishes with the right tastes and aromas,” said Serpil Tascioglu, who manages the project for Unilever. "If we continue to produce and consume food the way we do now, we’ll need three planets by 2050. We need a systematic solution so that we can still feed the world then too.”
Chefs from various parts of the world work in the building’s kitchens. An example of an innovation is vegan mayonnaise without any eggs. This is especially intended for the Brazilian market. Employees, experts and even just consumers can try the new products and give their opinions. The restaurant is open to everyone on campus during lunch.