Unilever opens new global Foods Innovation Centre on Wageningen campus

‘Hive’ will address major global food system challenges

His Majesty the King of the Netherlands opened Unilever’s new global Foods Innovation Centre on the campus of Wageningen University, the leading global agri-food research hub.

Unilever, member of Foodvalley, has invested €85m in the new center, named ‘Hive’ for its location amidst leading academic research centres, start-ups and external partners. From Hive, Unilever will lead its global Foods innovation programs for brands like Knorr, Hellmann’s, The Vegetarian Butcher and Calvė. Areas of research will include: plant-based ingredients and meat alternatives, efficient crops, sustainable food packaging and nutritious foods.

Together with its partners, Unilever aims to transform the food industry into a healthy and sustainable system, driving innovations that are healthier for people and for the planet.

Alan Jope, Unilever CEO, said: “We need a fundamental transformation of the food system if we are to feed more than 9 billion people sustainably and nutritiously. Malnutrition, obesity, climate change and food waste are issues that can only be addressed if we work in partnership to accelerate technology and innovation. Having a global research and development centre in Wageningen will enable us to do exactly this.”

The Wageningen area in the Netherlands is often nicknamed "Foodvalley" – a nod to Silicon Valley – in recognition of the breakthroughs in agri-food tech being generated by start-ups, science institutes, NGOs and companies located in the area.

Unilever’s Hive has the highest certification for sustainable buildings: ‘BREEAM-NL Outstanding’. Large parts of the fully circular interior are accessible to the public. Earlier this year, the building won two prestigious design awards: the Global Design Award for Commercial Projects and the Global Public Award.