Cargill is investing $21 million to build a ‘House of Chocolate’ complex in Belgium to facilitate customer innovation in the chocolate market.
The new facility will be built alongside the company’s existing chocolate production plant in Mouscron.
It will include a state-of-the-art chocolate experience centre, a unique pilot plant, a sensory lab and creative workspace for the company’s European R&D team of chocolate engineers.
The new 700 square meter complex will enable customers to experience the convenience of an all-in-one development process, from inspiration, innovation and training, through pilot lab testing, sensory testing and finally, culminating in commercial-scale production – at a single location.
“Innovation stands at the forefront of our House of Chocolate, as we bring together all our expertise and resources,” said Harold Poelma, President of Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate.
“It will allow us to collaborate with customers at every step of their product development journey, transforming ideas into reality using a streamlined approach to facilitate innovation and deliver greater efficiency and speed to market.”
Staffed by a team of more than 40 chocolate engineers, including sensory experts, technical service specialists and R&D scientists, the new facility will serve as the hub for all of Cargill’s chocolate, coating and filling activities.
“It’s fitting we make this investment in Belgium, given the unique place it holds in the chocolate world,” said Inge Demeyere, Managing Director for Cargill Chocolate Europe.
“Our House of Chocolate builds on that rich tradition, offering customers a unique venue to discover all that’s possible with our state-of-the-art capabilities and our broad range of brands including Cargill, Veliche Gourmet and Smet.
Construction has already begun, with the pilot centre scheduled to open in fall 2021. The chocolate experience centre and sensory lab will be operational in Jan 2022.