JBS INVESTS US$ 12.5 MILLION TO ACCELERATE INNOVATION
The Company has opened a new global research center in partnership with a US university.
List of ongoing projects includes new products
JBS has invested US$ 12.5 million in a Global Food Innovation Center, located in Fort Collins (USA), in partnership with the University of Colorado. The Company became the unit’s main sponsor when it made the donation to the partner institution, part of a US$ 20 million overall investment – the remaining funds were raised via charitable donations. The facility – officially unveiled on Tuesday, 09/04 – will accelerate the company’s innovation projects once the institution starts its studies and researches into food safety, meat science and animal welfare and handling. The project also includes an employee development program.
André Nogueira, CEO of JBS USA, believes food safety is one of the most important areas. “There is increasing demand for products made using best industry practices. Governments are also progressing rapidly towards technologies to identify at which unit each product was produced, information that could be important should, for example, anything happen to a consumer. The same is true for animal welfare”, he said.
He explained the company’s investment is mainly about people: employees, students, professionals and researchers. Chris Gaddis, head of global human resources at JBS, says the new centre means company employees will have additional academic opportunities, helping increase the company’s ability to innovate.
Another aspect the center will focus on is product development. According to Cameron Bruett, director of corporate affairs at JBS USA, the newly launched center will also accelerate development of higher value-added products that reflect new consumer trends. “This will help us encourage people to trade up and the company will be less susceptible to product segments with greater price sensitivity”, he said. In fact, studies on protein substitutes for meat are already under way.
Visiting the Centre
The 3,500 m2 innovation centre can accommodate around 200 people. Walking around, there are spaces that look much like those you would see at a JBS factory. “We want to teach out students the basic principles of every process”, said Keith Belk, Monfort Chair of Sciences and Director of the Meat Quality and Safety Centre, who was tour guide for SA Varejo and other Brazilian media outlets shortly before the official unveiling.
One of the areas replicates the sector where confined animals are bred and another replicates a sector for pasture raised animals, supporting animal welfare and handling studies. There are handling and processing rooms and areas equipped with ovens, as well as storage chambers for chilled and frozen products, and other environments.
There is also a kitchen, food testing and culinary demonstration area. “JBS wants to offer its customers new products. That is why we want them to come and ask questions so we can find out what they think about what we are developing”, said Belk. This new center also includes a new food safety and microbiology laboratory that will expand studies in this area. “Importantly, we will be measuring the quality of all types of food to improve every aspect of our products”, he said.
* The journalist traveled as a guest of JBS.
Source: S.A. Varejo