Ingredion Idea Labs expands into eastern Africa

Ingredion has launched a new, state-of-the-art Idea Lab innovation centre in Nairobi, Kenya, bringing the total number of centres across the globe to 28. This is the first Ingredion Idea Lab to open in the region, delivering technical support and culinary know-how to customers across eastern Africa. 

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The opening of the Ingredion Idea Lab in Nairobi

With access to global expertise in consumer insights, applied research, applications knowhow and process technology, the innovation centre in Nairobi is dedicated to helping food and beverage manufacturers fast-track innovation and new product launches. In addition to providing technical support across bakery, savoury, dairy, beverages, confectionary and processed meat sectors, it will also open up its doors to University students to provide practical training and advice on food starch technology.

Prior to the centre opening, support for prototype development came from Idea Labs innovation centres in Johannesburg, South Africa and Hamburg, Germany. Opened by Kennedy Ouma, Business Director Africa, on 9 November 2018, Ingredion now boasts six Idea Labs in EMEA, increasing the reach of its technical expertise. The innovation centre will launch with a team of five across technical, business development and sales and will expand in line with customer demand.

Lawrence Mbithi, business manager, Ingredion Kenya, comments: ‘Africa is home to a diverse nation of culinary tastes, religions and languages which poses its own unique set of challenges and opportunities for food and beverage manufacturers. As customers look to meet these consumer needs, we are seeing an increased demand for prototype and formulation development particularly in looking at product shelf life, texture and scaling up.

‘Housing the latest modern technology and equipment, our new Idea Lab is dedicated to fostering science-based collaboration and problem solving for customers. By taking advantage of our consumer research and market insights customers can align new product development with the unique needs of their markets.

‘From concept testing and cost savings approaches to deep expertise in CULINOLOGY and clean label formulation, our technical experts will be best placed to partner with customers using tested and proven starch technologies and processes.’

Providing an important link between business and education, the centre will also host training days with students from four partner Universities across Kenya and Uganda. Students on food science degrees will be invited to engage in hands-on, practical training on food starch technology across dairy, savoury and sauce applications, eventually progressing to include student internships.