Bühler’s Flavor Creation Center, which belongs to the company’s recently expanded food innovation hub in Uzwil, Switzerland, is now functioning at full speed. The centre combines Bühler’s expertise in roasting and grinding cocoa and coffee beans and processing malt and nuts to create innovative flavours and ‘future-fit’ products.
The centre has been processing coffee since 2013 and cocoa and nuts since 2022, having been upgraded and refurbished. The opening of four Application & Training Centres (ATCs) – Flavor Creation Center, Food Creation Center, Protein Application Center and Energy Recovery Center – compliments the existing ATCs including the Extrusion Application Center.
The centre showcases Bühler’s expertise in product innovation, technology and process validation, process optimisation and training and education. In partnership with the other Application and Training Centers, customers have the opportunity to consider new and different technologies along the value chain to find the best possible solution for their application, from the raw material to the finished product.
“The Flavor Creation Center is the perfect place to process cocoa beans to cocoa mass, cocoa powder, and butter; to roast coffee to perfect flavor; and to process nuts to pastes,” explained Shkelzen Nesimi, Head of Product Management and MarCom, Chocolate and Coffee at Bühler.
The processing, roasting, and grinding of cocoa beans, nuts and coffee is now combined in one location to create innovative flavors and high-quality products. The technological solutions available for cocoa include cleaning, de-shelling, alkalizing, and roasting (batch and continuous roasting) and result in high-quality cocoa mass, cocoa butter and cocoa powder.
Product innovation is a core part of the centre where different roasting technologies can be applied to assess influences on flavour, taste and physical characteristics. “Customers can try new flavour, roasting, or new grinding profiles for their products,” said Shkelzen Nesimi. Customers can develop new recipes, try out new processes, test different machine settings and configurations, compare different technologies and analyse the influence of raw materials on finished products.
“We also help our customers in buying processes, so that they can easily find out which type of solution can deliver defined results considering their techniques and processes, and match their flavour expectations and product requirements,” added Nesimi. “Sustainability and quality are key issues for them; for instance, they want to know whether they can roast a product at a lower temperature or shorter time and improve efficiency, but still get the same quality. We support their buying decision.”
Both start-ups and established producers are rethinking formulations of conventional products and experimenting with alternative raw materials like barley, carob and oats to create bean-free chocolate and coffee.
“By combining our know-how and infrastructure with the scientific knowledge of our academia partners, we can support our customers in achieving tangible results, accelerating changes, and designing the future of food,” concluded Nesimi.
Collaborating with the other ATCs in Uzil provides finished product value streams. The Flavor Creation Center works with the Chocolate Application Center to produce chocolate mass from cocoa and spreads from nut pastes. It also works with the Food Creation Center team to produce cereal bars and chocolate bars.
Stay up-to-date on the latest industry news and exclusives in our magazine.