Roquette America unveiled its new 30,000-sq.-ft., state-of-the-art, LEED-certified Innovation Center, located in Geneva, Ill.

On Sept. 14, Roquette America, Keokuk, Iowa, unveiled its new state-of-the-art Innovation Center, located in Geneva, Ill.

This multi-million dollar, 30,000-sq.-ft., LEED-certified facility acts as a collaborative tool for producers to create value-added products hitting seven major markets - baking, confectionery (including gums and mints), snacks, bars, chocolate, ready-to-drink beverages and mixers, dairy products (including yogurt, ice cream, cheese and even non-dairy prototypes) and cereal. All products can be formulated with sugar-free, reduced-sugar or no-sugar-added claims.

Some prototypes on display included reduced-sugar cookies, dairy-free milk, pea juice, cheese analogs, allergen-free energy bars, extruded cheese puffs and chips and a vegetarian taco kit, all comprised of Roquette’sNutralys, which is a pea protein rich in amino acids.

The Innovation Center also specializes in commercial-scale laboratory testing and instrumentation to meet increasing efficiency within the product development phase.

For instance, it is home to a test culinary kitchen for prototype demonstrations, an analytical and powder lab, a human nutrition lab for culinary and animal nutrition development, an auditorium, which is used for Roquette University educational seminars and courses, meeting rooms (called Huddle Rooms) and a pilot lab for product trials. This lab, which will boast extrusion equipment and a spray dryer, is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2012.

“The Roquette Innovation Center will complement our facilities in Europe and Asia,” says Guy Talbourdet, chief executive officer for the Roquette Group. “These locations will gather teams of Roquette people who are experts in their respective application fields with the means to develop their expertise to customize solutions for their customers. Roquette’s goal is for customers to feel as if they can visit Geneva, Ill., and develop complete solutions in a collaborative effort.”  

The theme of the grand opening Ceremony, “Revealing Tomorrow Today,” along with Roquette’s motto, “Offering the best of nature,” reflects how Roquette has been at the forefront of innovation since the company’s founding in 1933, developing new products and new applications that utilize renewable raw materials from corn, pea, potato, wheat and now, microalgae. Judith Canales, administrator for business and cooperative programs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., offered remarks at the ceremony, highlighting how innovation and partnership leads to better use of Roquette’s agricultural products while bringing prosperity to both rural and urban communities.  

Guests toured the facility and sampled Sorbetto and sugar-free truffles prepared by chef Alain Roby, owner of All Chocolate Kitchen, also in Geneva, Ill.