RESEARCHING TASTE: Nestlé’s Singapore R&D is home to 120 people from 18 different nations, working in disciplines including nutritional science.
Nestlé has entered into a strategic partnership with the Singapore government’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research, A*STAR, with the goal of setting up global research programmes in food science and technology.
The agreement will focus on areas such as nutrition, packaging, data analytics and also biotransformation - the use of natural processes, such as fermentation, to transform raw materials into ingredients with nutritional or functional benefits.
“We are delighted to sign this research agreement with A*STAR. It provides the framework for future collaboration that will help to strengthen our food science and technology capabilities in Singapore and beyond,” said Nestlé’s Chief Technology Officer, Stefan Catsicas.
“Our goal is that closer collaboration with A*STAR will enable our team of food technologists, food engineers, chemists and microbiologists to share their knowledge and understanding in multiple areas of food science and to strengthen Nestlé’s position as a global leader in food science, nutrition and technology.”
On behalf of Nestlé, the three-year framework agreement was signed by Johannes Baensch, Nestlé’s head of Global Research and Development and Frank Lehmann, head of Intellectual Asset Management and Licensing.
What is biotransformation? Biotransformation involves natural processes to transform raw materials into ingredients to improve the flavour, digestibility or shelf-life of food.
Dr Raj Thampuran, Managing Director of A*STAR, and Suresh Sachi, Deputy Managing Director (Corporate and Legal) signed on behalf of the Agency.
The agreement will allow Nestlé to further expand its extensive expertise in areas of biotransformation including fermentation, enzyme technology and probiotics and to develop superior technology solutions to meet consumer expectations.
Though used in hundreds of food products across the world, many Asian products in particular are based on biotransformation processes such as fermentation including, for example, tempe – made from fermented soy beans - and kimchi, fermented vegetables with chilli particularly popular in Korea.
Biotransformation, which can take the form of fermentation and the use of enzymes and probiotics, can make products more digestible, improve their bioavailabiliy and extend their shelf-life.
Nestlé products made using the natural fermentation process include MAGGI Liquid Seasoning based on wheat gluten fermentation, and MAGGI bouillon cubes in West Africa, based on soya fermentation.
Nestlé uses its expertise in biotransformation in several of its 34 Research & Development and Product Technology Centres around the world.
The company’s Research & Development Centre in Singapore, set up in 1980, was its first in Asia, set up to meet the region’s burgeoning economic growth.
R&D Singapore now employs approximately 120 people from 18 different nations, working in disciplines including engineering, packaging and design, analytical chemistry, microbiology, food and nutritional science.