In response to customer's need for inspiration, innovation and increased speed-to-market, Cargill is proud to open its first European Protein Innovation Hub in Saint-Cyr en Val, France.
The new facility, which forms part of Cargill’s Saint-Cyr en Val plant located near Orleans, will enable customers to co-create inspiring protein rich menu strategies. It features a customer experience area, a state-of-the-art test kitchen and a unique pilot plant to test new products and concepts. Its development forms part of a major upgrade to the site, which has produced chicken specialities for leading French and European food service outlets for 30 years.
Karel Zimmermann, managing director of Cargill Protein Europe explains, “Cargill’s Protein Innovation Hub is the perfect home for unsurpassed protein experiences where inspiration, co-creation and innovation meet to transform ideas into an exciting reality. Our customers can explore the entire world of protein under one roof - from consumer and marketing insights to sensory profiling and product concepts. It is our first Protein Innovation Hub in Europe and part of our continued investment in Protein as an essential component of the food chain.”
The idea-to-execution concept begins with product co-creation, where customers can create or re-create samples of finished products developed by Chefs who serve Cargill customers around Europe. The Cargill team can then rapidly prototype new products in small batches yielding greater efficiency and speed to market on a dedicated small-scale pilot line, while undertaking further analytical and sensory testing. Finished products are presented in the customer experience center which boasts a restaurant space and hosts chef demonstrations, workshops, and trainings to enhance co-development and customer experience.
The new facility forms part of a €50M investment into Cargill’s Saint-Cyr en Val site which will see almost 70% of the production facilities renovated by 2025. Cargill is heavily invested in the French poultry value chain and this expansion program will increase output capacity by 10%.
The Saint-Cyr en Val plant celebrates 30 years as a leading food service provider, during which time it has established itself as a major partner of the French poultry supply chain. Cargill has built a strong relationship with a consortium of 200 poultry farms in Britanny leveraging a unique collaboration model based on three-year rolling contracts that enable farmers to improve their business model and long-term outlook. This approach underscores the plant's pivotal importance in supporting both Cargill's mission and the broader French poultry industry.
Sustainability is at the heart of this investment, with energy saving programs including the introduction of a new state-of-the-art refrigeration unit, (-11% electricity consumption) and heat pumps to produce hot water for cleaning (–5% gas consumption and –20% water consumption). Overall, this step change in the site's environmental footprint represents a reduction of 220t of CO2 emissions per year.
Jonathan Laroye, director of Cargill’s Saint-Cyr en Val plant adds, “We are proud to have been an active part of the local community for 30 years, during which time our site has serviced over 2,000 restaurants across France and 10 countries across Europe. This major investment will see our facilities upgraded to new-generation technology and contribute to sustainable development in the food industry, all while injecting a much-needed investment into the local economy.”