National Starch Breaks Ground on Multimillion-Dollar Texture Center of Excellence

October 2, 2007

3 Min Read
National Starch Breaks Ground on Multimillion-Dollar Texture Center of Excellence

BRIDGEWATER, NJNational Starch Food Innovation, a business unit of National Starch and Chemical Company, recently broke ground on the building of a state-of-the-art Texture Center of Excellence that will support the companys expanding efforts in the food texture arena.

Scheduled to be operational in 2008, the multimillion dollar Texture Center of Excellence will support National Starchs programs to meet the growing industry need for texture understanding and control, and will help accelerate innovation and new product development and provide for greater creative collaboration with customers, according to Joseph Light, senior director, Customer Solutions and Product Innovation, National Starch Food Innovation.

Our research shows that, compared to flavor, texture is clearly an underexploited dimension in foods. We see tremendous opportunity to work with customers to optimize texture in food systems as a means of creating superior customer satisfaction and competitive advantage. Our goal, as a specialty ingredients company, is to create a unique group of capabilities that coalesce into what we call a Texture Center of Excellence. This will be one of the best facilities available anywhere to refine the understanding of how texture is experienced by consumers and transform that understanding into product development action and consumer-winning food formulations, said Light.

The Texture Center of Excellence will include a focus group room with observation area, a computerized descriptive analysis room, a culinary kitchen, isolated testing booths, and client meeting rooms. Clients unable to travel to the facility for sensory and/or consumer testing will be able to participate remotely via the Internet. The new facility, which will be built within an existing structure on the Bridgewater campus, will also be equipped with specialized instrumentation to conduct texture characterization and accelerate the pace of development.

Textures growing importance is evidenced by the influx of new products with texture claims. In 2006, 12 percent of new products launched featured texture claims on the package front, up 50 percent from 2003, according to the Mintel Global New Products Database. In related information, the GNPD cited the importance of starch in many of these products, reporting that nearly 22% of all new products launched in 2005 had starch listed as an ingredient.

Specialty starches, one of the most flexible groups of functional ingredients used in foods today, can provide texture properties in nearly all food systems, ranging from low to high moisture foods. Researchers in Nationals Texture Center will delve into the understanding of nearly every starch raw material currently available.

The Texture Center will also support Nationals leadership positions in clean label/organic ingredients, functional fibers and whole grain flours, three of the fastest-growing trends in the food industry. The company anticipates using its prototyping, consumer testing and pilot plant capabilities to help its customers create, scale up and introduce successful new products at a much faster pace to capitalize on these growing markets.

The Texture Center is one of several substantial investments National Starch has made in recent years to strengthen and expand its consumer understanding, sensory analysis, materials science, formulation, and ingredient development capabilities relating to texture.

About National Starch Food Innovation
National Starch Food Innovation is a leading global supplier of nature-based functional and nutritional ingredient solutions to the food and beverage industries. The company has a strong focus on delivering innovation to meet market and consumer trends in wholesome and natural, texture, nutrition, wellness, vitality and targeted delivery solutions. This vision combined with an extensive, award-winning product range, market knowledge and technical expertise makes National Starch Food Innovation a partner of choice for the next generation of food producers. For more information, visit the companys website.

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